new selection for the fourth Faber and Faber book of new Irish short stories – not the 'best new', which was dropped with Joseph O’Connor’s selection in 2011 – makes some attempt to answer this.
Acknowledging the ‘bawl of demonic energy... of a newborn infant’ that characterises all of the stories in the book, he wonders if it is that Irish writers, facing up to the world, may sound a note of ‘laughter in the dark’ or even ‘against the dark’, and promises that we’ll hear that note many times in the collection. We do.
The darkness is often existential. Recessions, present and past, are there as backdrops to many of the stories, but in at least three of them characters speak of their sadness