Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cabbage and Bones (1997)

I've been waiting for Halloween week to post Caledonia Kearn's anthology of Irish American fiction. The themes are familiar ... funerals, loss, change, resentment, and a longing for a past more fanciful than real. It's the use of language I love, the extra pronouns, and the sense of other that exists in the daily life of those from the old country. An except follows from "Hour of Spring" by Mary Deasy:

"She remembered her great-granduncle Matt as a tall old man who wore a loose-fitting dark suit and derby hat, and who came to visit them twice a year on holiday afternoons, when he talked to them about the old days when he had lived on Burke Street .... Sometimes he went further back and talked about Ireland, and of his experiences with the little people there. He told them once that his grandmother had the glamour, and could see the fairies and traffic with them. She was a beautiful gray woman, he said; and told them how she would put an empty chair by the peats on a stormy night for some poor ghost to come in and rest.

He believed all that ... he believed it as implicitly as he believed in the Lord God sitting in His golden chair, and the angels and the blessed saints round. People who never knew the old Irish might think it incredible that a man could live for more than half a century in a modern American city and still believe in the existence of fairies, particularly a man as hardheadedly matter-of-fact as her great-granduncle Matt."

What about you? Do you have the glamour? Nearly everyone has a ghost story to tell. What's yours?

Click here to find out more about the book: Cabbage and Bones.

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