FOREIGN AFFAIRS: And Other Stories by Sean O'Faolain

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: And Other Stories

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It's a good thing, as a character in a story called ""Liberty"" remarks, that ""the truth is always much too complicated to be told straight out."" For in the hands of a gifted storyteller such as O'Faolain the truth we get is very likely to be somewhat different and, fortunately, more textured than the truth we expected. It doesn't really matter, for example, that reclusive, retired travel agent Tommy Bodkin is concealing what he knows about the drowning of Lady Dobson. She got what was coming to her and now the equilibrium of Ms quiet seaside village has been restored. And how much credence can we give to all those lovely disputations between the doctor, the poet and the priest when we later learn that Father Tim has given up his celibacy, taking up in practice what he professed to know so much about in theory. Then there is the tangled web spun by ""The Faithless Wife"" who teaches her French lover a thing or two about the abandonment of the true puritan. Finally, the rifle story gives us the quintessential Irish courtship which, at the perfection of its form, can far outlast many marriages. But good storytellers while mesmerizing us can also become entranced with their own voices and O'Faolain has been known to be inclined toward the baroque. Still it's a small indulgence, overcoming as he does the challenge offered by another character, the antique hoarder who claimed, ""there is not a pebble in my garden but has its story.

Pub Date: Jan. 20th, 1975
Publisher: Atlantic/Little, Brown