Monday, June 27, 2011

Something Sensational to Read on the Train

The best thing about reading a wonderful short story, such as Men and Women from Claire Keegan's award winning collection Antarctica, on the train, is that you are making two journeys at the same time.

The train leaves Newbridge and you are with the ten year old (girl) narrator in the run up to Christmas, her doubts about Santa Claus and the shadow of her parents' pressurised marriage.

You travel with her through the comforting mundanity of daily farm tasks and the segregation of work by gender - her brother, "the brains in the family, sits in the sitting room and pretends he's studying," while the narrator cooks and serves his meals.

By the time the train pulls into Dublin,

the narrator's mother, whose trapped state and dependence on her husband, illustrated in her thwarted longing to learn to drive the family car, has made the small but groundbreaking victory of jumping into the driver's seat,driving the car home, leaving her husband behind in the falling snow.

Forty five minutes of pure pleasure.

What do you like to read on the train?


Paul Anthony Shortt said...

The train is my normal reading time. I try to read more at home, but if I'm home I feel like I should either be writing or editing, so it can be tough managing it.

At the moment I'm reading a draft of a book by a friend and really enjoying it. Only problem is it's the second of a trilogy and she's had to move on to another WIP for her agent so she won't be finishing the final part for a while!

Mari G said...

Hi Paul
Reading is a great way to productively use up commute time.
I do find most train journeys quite relaxing. (Except when someone engages in a long, loud phonecall right beside me)
Thanks for stopping by!

Susannah said...

Ooh, it is years since I have been on a train. But if I had a long train journey to take I would take a draft of my novel and work on some editing! I would be trapped and so couldn't run away and do anything else. :-) Though I would probably just stare from the window and enjoy the view.

A lovely post, I love the photos illustrating it and the book sounds good, I shall look out for it.

Debbie said...

I love reading on the rare times i get to journey by train. Something about the movement outside and in, as you say. Especially short stories - Anne Egan write the one defining feature of short stories is change. And I too love that story. So simple, full of suppressed, almost unconscious outrage at her mother's lot, and such triumph at the end. Well worth the price of a train ticket. Debbie

Mari G said...

Hi Susannah - I love staring out the window too (as well as reading)
Thanks for kind words re: photos.. I can tell you I felt like a bit of a berk taking them, with other passengers around me!
Nice to hear from you

Mari G said...

Hi Debbie
Such a fabulous Keegan short story and yes, you are spot on...the suppressed, almost unconscious outrage does sum up how the little girl comes across.

eileen said...

must get it out tonight and read it again. i love train journeys too and the freedom to read write, think.. don't get to make any very often now though.