| 9.8°C Dublin

Close

Premium

Versatile debut collection shows many sides to the short story

Short stories: Almost the Same Blue

John O'Donnell

Doire Press, 173 pages, paperback €14

Close

Clean and subdued writing: John O'Donnell

Clean and subdued writing: John O'Donnell

Almost the Same Blue by John O'Donnell

Almost the Same Blue by John O'Donnell

/

Clean and subdued writing: John O'Donnell

Almost the Same Blue is the debut short story collection from Dubliner John O'Donnell, though he has previously published (and won awards for) individual stories, as well as books of poetry. It's a very good anthology, 16 tales of deceit, regrets, bad memories, reckless passions, fatal misunderstandings and, in some cases, hopefulness and beauty.

Unusually for a short fiction collection, Almost the Same Blue contains a high quotient of actual stories. The format usually lends itself to vignettes: impressionistic little sketches where, as the saying goes, the reader arrives after the action has begun and leaves before it reaches a conclusion.

This isn't any kind of problem, by the way. Personally, I love how short stories hint at things, alluding rather than explicitly describing, and leave a significant space for the reader to step into the piece and flesh it out and imagine possible futures. In other words, we co-write the story to some extent.