Irish writers

Maeve Brennan on online dating

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The best observation on online dating well before there was a thing called online dating. Courtesy of the astute New Yorker Dubliner, Maeve Brennan, 1962, Midtown.

‘As he was fitting her chair in under her, the man said, evidently continuing their conversation, “All right, if you must have a definition, I am a socialist who is interested in lust.” I was fascinated, but he sat down and his voice dropped with him, and I heard nothing more from him until their lunch had been served, and then he said, in a loud voice, as though he were astonished, “The potatoes are very good here.” Another disappointing man, I thought…’

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Novels…1st lines.

“Three o’clock in February. All the sky was blue and high. Banners and bunting and people bunched up between. Greetings and sadness.”

“I was lost, it was already dusk, I had been driving for hours and was practically out of petrol.”

“Some places are too evil to be allowed to exist.”

“Above all, the darkness of the river was what impressed Dr. Sanders as he looked out for the first time across the open mouth of the Matarre estuary.”

“Music school? Are you kidding? I learned to play the sax in Pontiac Reformatory.”

“When Frieda Schwartz heard from her Shmuel that he was (a) marrying a black girl, the blood soughed and staggered in all her conduits as she pictured the chiaroscuro of the white-satin chuppa and the shvartze’s skin; when he told her that he was (b) dropping out of school and would therefore never become a certified public accountant – ‘Riboyne Shel O’lem!’ – she let out a great geshrei and dropped dead of a racist/my-son-the-bum coronary.”

“There is no warning of daylight here.”

Kevin Barry on the Proper Pint

A perfect example of when prose sings to you and makes you want to drink. In this case, Kevin Barry describing a proper pour of Guinness:

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‘Each fresh glass he filled two sevenths shy of the brim, with the glass delicately inclined to the pourer’s breast, so as the stout would not injure itself with a sheer fall, and he set them then, and there was the rush and mingle of brown and cream notes, and the blackness rising, a magic show you would never tire of.’

– Kevin Barry, Breakfast Wine