GALLEY BEGGAR PRESS SHORT STORY PRIZE 2017/18
I first encountered the work of Brian Kirk in March 2013, during ISSM III. One of the reasons I have continued on with ISSM for eight years is to provide me with the motivation to keep reading writers as supremely talented and perceptive as Brian Kirk, watching them develop, expand and keep up the grand tradition of the Irish Short Story. I posted on two short stories by Brian Kirk in 2013 and with the post you are now reading have posted on two of his short stories in 2018. We also did a very wide ranging Q and A session in 2013. (There are now four links to stories by Kirk in posts on his work on my blog, all of which I strongly recommend to lovers of the form.)
“Festival” is a very interesting, challenging, entertaining story uniquely narrated, in just a few pages our understanding of the story changes as we listen to the interior monologue of the narrator, a Dublin man seemingly on an extended lunch break from his hated office job. Telling anything at all of the plot of this story will negate a first time readers pleasure in trying to figure out what is really going on so I won’t.
I will share enough of the story to give you a feel for the very elegant prose of Kirk:
“We often talk about you back at the office. We wonder how you are getting along.’ He laughed. ‘Does he miss us, we ask ourselves. Not bloody likely, eh!’
He finally released my hand, and perhaps noticing that I had yet to speak he cocked his head and stared at me. I never liked to be stared at. I let my gaze fall to my shoes. I would’ve liked to speak, just to end the awkwardness of the moment, but I had no idea what to say. I was on the edge of remembering something important about work.
‘The boss will be looking for you,’ I said finally, pointing at my watch.
‘Yes, yes, some things never change, but I’m on legitimate business at the moment. I’ve been promoted since you left,’ he said.
‘I see,’ I said, and I suddenly understood that I no longer worked at the office, although it was not apparent to me what I did now to fill the days, and what the hell was I doing here today pretending to take a lunch break.”
As the story closed I began to feel something truly terrible had happened to our narrator.
I read “Festival” three times. I highly recommend this this story. I suggest you visit Kirk’s very well done webpage.
Brian Kirk is a poet, short story writer, playwright and novelist from Dublin, Ireland. His work has appeared in the Sunday Tribune, Crannog, The Stony Thursday Book, Revival, Boyne Berries, Wordlegs and various anthologies.
I hope to follow his work for many years.