Many talented Irish women writers are included in this long-awaited anthology. Some of the stories are rare treats from now-deceased ladies of literary note such as Maria Edgeworth – a personal favourite of mine – and the book features previously unpublished stories from the current canon of Irish women’s writing, such as Anne Enright and Christine Dwyer Hickey. We are treated to a range of topics that lay bare an undercurrent of what it is to be a woman in Ireland today. Personal tastes will be abated, whatever they are, as there’s something for everyone in this book. The collection shows how far women’s writing has come and just how far we can go. So dip in and dip out, take a long gaze back. And then, look forward.
Lisa Corr, Dubray Books Grafton St.
The Long Gaze Back, edited by Sinéad Gleeson, is an exhilarating anthology of thirty short stories by some of the most gifted women writers this island has ever produced. Taken together, the collected works of these writers reveal an enrapturing, unnerving, and piercingly beautiful mosaic of a lively literary landscape. Spanning four centuries, The Long Gaze Back features 8 rare stories from deceased luminaries and forerunners, and 22 new unpublished stories by some of the most talented Irish women writers working today. The anthology presents an inclusive and celebratory portrait of the high calibre of contemporary literature in Ireland. These stories run the gamut from heartbreaking to humorous, but each leaves a lasting impression. They chart the passions, obligations, trials and tribulations of a variety of vividly-drawn characters with unflinching honesty and relentless compassion. These are stories to savour.