ALL ARE WELCOME to the launch of Gerry Boland’s debut collection of short stories, THE FAR SIDE OF HAPPINESS. The book will be launched by Brian Leyden in King House on Friday 24th November at 6pm.
An unemployed man, living alone, experiences a brief moment of epiphany only for his fragile optimism to be shattered by a freak accident. An ordinary story about a marriage in trouble conceals a devastating and unexpected deceit, revealed in its final lines. An Irish bachelor living in Paris has his life of entitlement turned upside-down by two simultaneous though unrelated events. A bully enters a small working community and wreaks havoc, destroying friendships in the process. An environmentalist brings her naïve idealism to a rural, coastal community and hopelessly misreads the town’s mood.
Sixteen stories, sixteen intriguing situations and a fascinating cast of characters populate Gerry Boland’s brilliant new collection of short stories.
Our unhappiness session took us into the early part of the night. The sounds coming up from the street had changed. There were more cars, commuters returning home from work. It had begun to drizzle, and the noise of the wet tyres was a long, continuous, sibilant whish. Neither of us suggested turning on a light. The room, dark now, was invaded by shadows and twinkles and sudden, startling flashes from the headlights of cars swinging left at the corner of Waterloo Road. Occasionally, I thought of Gina Traynor, and how her loneliness and her unhappiness had acted like a magnet for me in school, how it had kept my own depression company. And not just in school. Later, too. It was really hard for me to think about Gina.
[Extract from Begin with Loneliness]
She liked Lincoln Savage’s slimness, and his long legs, and above all she liked his hands. Several times she caught herself staring at his fingers as they nimbly rolled another cigarette. Four cigarettes he’d smoked in the space of an hour that summer afternoon. She had never in her life been so struck by a man’s physicality as she was by his intense presence. It took her completely by surprise. Until that afternoon, she would not have thought of herself as a sexual person. She had had sex only with Joe, and she had taken pleasure in at least some of these intimate exchanges, though of late the whole messy business had become a chore, something that had to be engaged in, because that’s what married couples do.
She hoped he hadn’t noticed her staring at Lincoln. She hoped even more that Lincoln hadn’t, though she suspected he had. He seemed the type who would notice such things.
[Extract from Carlow]