Like many of the great Irish writers before him, Dermot Healy first announced himself as a writer of intricate and innovative short stories. Healy’s stories are set in small-town Ireland and its rural environs, and in the equally suffocating confines of the Irish expat communities in London. Throughout these texts, Healy demonstrates a deep sense of compassion towards the marginalized and the dispossessed, without ever becoming sentimental or clichéd. The language is earthy and imagistic by turn, and he continually seeks to extend the formal boundaries of the genre.Gathering all of Healy’s stories together for the first time, this collection includes the long prose-drama “Before the Off” and Healy’s final short works, “Along the Lines” and “Images.”
About the Author
Dermot Healy (1947-2014) grew up in Cavan near the border with Northern Ireland. Following stints in London and Belfast, Healy settled in Ballyconnell, Co. Sligo, where he founded and edited the journal Force 10. His debut collection, Banished Misfortune and Other Stories (1982), included here, was followed by four novels and an acclaimed memoir, The Bend for Home (1996). Healy also wrote five collections of poetry and thirteen stage plays (his Collected Plays will be published by Dalkey Archive Press in 2016). Elected to Aosdána in 1986, he was the recipient of two Hennessy Literary Awards, the Tom-Gallon Award, the Encore Award, and the AWB Vincent American Ireland Fund Literary Award.
Keith Hopper teaches Literature and Film Studies at Oxford University’s Department for Continuing Education, and is a Research Fellow in the Centre for Irish Studies at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. He is the author of Flann O’Brien: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Post-Modernist (revised edition 2009), general editor of the twelve-volume Ireland into Film series (2001–7), and co-editor (with Neil Murphy and Ondřej Pilný) of a special “Neglected Irish Fiction” issue of Litteraria Pragensia (2013). He is a regular contributor to the Times Literary Supplement and is currently completing a book on the writer and filmmaker Neil Jordan.
Neil Murphy teaches contemporary literature at NTU, Singapore. He is the author of Irish Fiction and Postmodern Doubt (2004) and editor of Aidan Higgins: The Fragility of Form (2010) and of the revised edition of Higgins’s Balcony of Europe (2010). He co-edited (with Keith Hopper) a special Flann O’Brien centenary issue of the Review of Contemporary Fiction (2011) and The Short Fiction of Flann O’Brien (2013). He has published numerous articles and book chapters on contemporary fiction, Irish writing, and theories of reading, and is currently completing a book on John Banville.