Thursday, August 12, 2010

Requiems for the Departed

Requiems for the Departed was unlike any book I've read, simply because I've never read a full anthology from cover to cover. It was an interesting process, if not a little confusing figuring out the characters and plot in every individual story. Since every short story was different I can't really give you a synopsis of the story, other than to say they all contained something of Irish mythology, and for the most part were somewhat "dark". Some of my favorites though...

Adrian McKinty's Diarmaid and Grainne.... As typical with McKinty's books, and one of the reasons I enjoy his books, is that I can see them in my mind as I'm reading it. Even a day or two later I can picture it almost like watching a movie. He manages to pull this off with seemingly fewer words than more too, which seems surprising. The story of Diarmaid and Grainne, in Irish mythology is one of a love triangle, something we've all seen, but this current rendition still manages to keep it fresh.

Gary Kilworth's Hats off to Mary...I would actually like to see these characters in a book series, (and they many be, I haven't checked). I enjoyed the cleverness of the murder weapon and how things came to be. I also thought the story developed well, (although quickly, as to be expected with a short story). This story was a murder mystery based on an Irish mythological goddess named Macha who was forced to run a race against the kings horse and gave birth to twins at the finish line. As a punishment for what she was forced to endure, she cursed the men responsible to suffer labor pains when they most needed to be strong. The moral..beware the wrath of a wronged woman.

Sam Millar's Red Hand of Ulster...Based on the story of a king, O'Neill, and a man named Dermott that both wanted the same piece of land in Ireland. The king suggested they have a horse race for it, and the first one to touch the land wins. When it looked like Dermott would win, O'Neill cut off his hand and threw it to the land and therefor took the prize. Millar takes the tale and turns into a detective crime story. This one I think was the most complex of the short stories, and the most developed plot wise. It also added some humor to the story which added some balance I think. I enjoyed it and would like to read the Karl Kane series, if I can find it.

Garbhan Downey's First to Score...This one gets an honorable mention. I can't say I remember the details of the plot, or which character did what, but I do remember laughing a bit as I was reading it. It reminded me in a way of how Janet Evanivich's books read with some of the antics. It was also based on the story of Diarmaid and Grainne, but more in a satirical way then a true love story.

There are many other well told and enjoyable stories in the book, and in the end you have to admire the creativity that went to coming up with these tales.


seana said...

Haven't gotten to my copy yet, Glenna, but I'll come back and compare notes when I have.

Glenna said...

Yes, definitely do.

Gerard Brennan said...

Hi Glenna

I've only just stumbled upon this very kind review. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. Really glad you enjoyed the collection.



Glenna said...

Thanks for stopping by Gerard.

I should add that I learned a lot about Irish mythology reading the myth behind the stories too.