Parabolas: Stories and Fables
. Lagan Press . Belfast
xPB1399.T5A2 2005 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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This is an extra copy of this signed paperback. Here is a book I presume I had not learned of because it is marketed in the UK and perhaps not in the USA. The author presents an engaging sense of the stories he has gathered here, all originally written in Irish and culled from three previous collections. While some of them follow the well-rutted path of the traditional short story, there are others that are tales, or yarns, or fables, or plots, or just fictions, because a story is a truly raggy thing (13). I find the first story offering a clue to all the others: The Storyteller (17). Here we read of a Jesus-like figure who told stories on street corners or in the fields or in the back rooms of pubs. He becomes a cult figure but then passes out of fashion as he had passed into fashion. While in fashion, he challenges people to invite to their parties the poor, the hoboes, the junkies, the scumbags on the streets, goddam filthy immigrants…. Do it this way 'cause they can never invite you back. Later his stories engender stories, commentaries, exegeses, and epicycles on their cycles. The stories in this little volume have some of the shock value of scripture stories. One that is close to traditional fable form has the maggot closing a debate with the far-flying bird by saying that he will have seen the ground and I will have left my mark upon it (30). One subset that catches my attention includes these titles: A Yarn of Fifty Words Only (57); Story in One Hundred Words (119); and Tale in Twenty-Five Words (130). A fine anticlerical piece is The Bishop Who Stuck His Finger in the Dyke (58). For me, As It is in Heaven (69) is not only surprising but also inappropriate. Falling Out of Love (115) is no fable, but it gets the experience just right. What a refreshing little book!