Tuesday, 24 February 2009
40 Fights Between Husbands and Wives by Colm Liddy
Penguin Ireland €16.19
A BITTER man writes a user’s manual for his (former) wife. In a row of toilets at a wedding, a bride wrestles to free herself of the hoops on her dress, knowing that the groom and the bridesmaid her mother foisted on her are having sex in the end cubicle.
Colm Liddy recently told a radio interviewer that when he goes out for a few drinks with a friend in Clare, he’s likely to end up in the toilet himself, rapidly taking notes for one of these stories.
His fights between husbands and wives track marital annoyance through the ages and across countries.
Edgar Allen Poe makes his appearance as a chance-met passenger on a train, who tells his fellow-travellers a horrible story. A Virginia cotton magnate’s son crashes from the balcony of his home. The parents try everything to mend his broken body.
Their failure drives the magnate to drink and bankruptcy, and he returns at last to find that his child has been suspended in childhood by a mesmerist. Breaking the child’s trance, the father watches in horror as his body transforms in moments into an adolescent’s, and he dies.
You’d have to wonder what kind of drinks they’re serving in Clare.
Unmissable stores, the products of a wonderfully creative storyteller.