REVIEW by Nigel Rodenhurst

NWR Issue 101

The Scattering

by Jaki McCarrick

Jaki McCarrick’s new collection of short stories features a terrain and concerns that have been present in a writing career garnering numerous prizes and awards for drama, poetry and fiction. These stories revolve mainly around a collection of characters who live on the borders of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Many of them are traumatised in some way by the political discord and disturbances that have affected those areas over the last fifty years.

One common motif is the moment of a return to old haunts, years after the last visit. Characters meet old friends, lovers and family members after decades apart, and are brought to moments of realisation and clarity relating to past events. One can see from, for example, ‘The Jailbird’, why McCarrick has received critical acclaim. In this atmospheric tale, a shop assistant’s former love (from when he was in a band in the early nineties) returns from America and attempts to prise him away from his apparently toxic, controlling mother...

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previous review: The Answer & Other Love Stories
next review: A Great Big Shining Star


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