Mike McCormack: Getting It in the Head Stories



Excellent visceral collection of short stories Not all zingers but all of them with a efty punch in the plot and plenty of them will resonate and rest in my mind long after reading Thematically focussed on Irish life with often surreal or fantastical events that invade mundane circumstances This is superb The stories are intense unexpected and feel so whole and complete even at just 12 pages McCormack throws you in the deep end in every story from the very start of the collection the opener The Gospel of Knives is one of the strangest and most subversive stories I ve read There s a thread of religious metaphor througho 35 stars arresting stories with great images and narratives but it definitely read like the first attempt at stories it is Overkill melodrama particularly in the long title story at the expense of character I felt However a good spiky read you can see talent emerging and Solar Bones shows a great writer in full flow and control These are the try outs the experiments that led Pulled Thread Embroidery him there Wowere s a guy taking risks I can imagine most of these stories getting shredded in workshops So this is a great reminder about not being afraid to write an unconventional story What makes them work aside from McCormack s imagination is the energetic writing the great use of nouns and verbs to describe the mix of short sentences that appear to be fragments but aren t just unexpected syntactically with sprawling dense multiple punctuated sentences Macabre neo gothic wildly inventive and certainly not your run of the mill workshopped to death in an MFA program collection of stories Good collection of black English Humour for Beginners humor Whoa it s Roald Dahl s Tales of the Unexpected on steroidI read these stories a couple of years back from a book I loaned from someone I couldn t remember and at some point couldn t even get the title of this book out of myead but I always remember the stories it contains Yes they are macabre but that s not the only reason why they are so Absolutely on Music haunting It s the originality of turning something so believeably banal like travelling salesman and young boys playing board games into outrageous outcomes not magical realistic outrageous not badly researched sci fi outrageous but violently ima. In stories like A Is for Axe Dead Man's Fuel The Stained Glass Violations Amor Vincit Omnia and the dazzling title piece McCormack shows a mesmerizing range and darkued neo Gothic vision Set in.

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Ginative outrageousI need to get a copy for myself now that I remember what the book s really called I didn t enjoy the two openers but wonder now if that was simply my needing to acclimate to what are deeply troubling tales The writing is often tremendous the right shade of black and for a rough idea as to what you can expect The Ransom of Mercy Carter here s a passage from Thomas Crumlesh 1960 1992 A Retrospective which felt to me eual parts Ian Banks and JG Ballard His deterioration could not go on indefinitely In March 1992e wrote telling me Gone for Good he planned to exhibitis final piece at the Kassel Documenta He travelled to Dublin the following month and spent a week at my Lallieva (Alice Allevi, house wheree outlined the procedure I was to follow after the operation On the night of the tenth after shaking ands with appropriate solemnity for the last time I administered im a massive dose of morphine a euthanasia injection He died painlessly within four minutes Then following British Society Since 1945 his instructions I removedis remaining left arm and ead messy dispiriting work I then boiled the flesh from the arm and skull in a uge bath and using a solution of bleach and furniture polish brought the bone to a luminous whiteness I fixed the skull in the Reiki And The Seven Chakras hand and set the whole thing on a wall mount Alas Poor Thomase Turning the Tide of Battle had told me to call it Then I sent it to Kassel at the end of the month Thomas alreadyaving informed the gallery as to the kind of work they were to expect In critical terms it was I Curse the River of Time his most successful piece and when Kiefer singledim out as the genius specific to the jaded tenor of this brutal and fantastic century Once I Was a Princess his reputation was cemented This last piece sold for twenty five Deutschmarks Mike McCormack is a writer from the west of Ireland and Getting it in the Head isis debut collection of short stories first published in 1996 It s been out of print for years which probably explains why it Court the Night (Blood Bonds, has only two other reviews on Goodreads but it s recently been re released by the Irish Lilliput Press and if you re interested you can buy itereThe collection itself enjoyed critical success won the Rooney Prize and was named as one of the books of the year by the New York Times It s not a bad collection but it s often less than satisfying and sho. Various locations from New York to the west coast of Ireland to the nameless realms of the imagination is stories conjure a world where beautiful but deranged kids make lethal bombs where talen.

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Ws the signs of being a first work by a debuting writer Many of the stories included are delightfully absurd outlandish and experimental with weird events appening with little introduction or explanation as if we were walking through an other deranged world but still recognizable as parallel to our own In the first story a man opens Demons, Deliverance, Discernment his door to a female travelling salesman and learns thate might Some Prefer Nettles by Junichiro Tanizaki Summary Study Guide have bit thane could chew in another a young boy is possessed by the spirit of Well Meet Again his late grandfather much to dismay and confusion ofis parents should they be appy that their father is back or mourn the new loss of their son A story titled The Occupation A Guide for Tourists is a choose your own adventure road to Calvary which leads to the same outcome albeit through three very different patch each giving it a new interpretationThis isn t a bad collection but largely a forgotten one perhaps undeservedly so but that s publishing for you ere today gone tomorrow Luckily for us with the advent of digital books this is no longer a big problem but now we re flooded with too much content from all sides which in consideration might be an even bigger oneInterview with Mike McCormack in The SpectactorInterview with Mike McCormack in The Irish Writers Centre includes a short film adaptation of a short story from this collection The Terms Mike McCormack is perhaps best known for If I Never See You Again (Jo Birmingham his one sentence novel Solar Bones which won the 2016 Goldsmiths Prize and was longlisted for the 2017 Booker prize I was not aware ofim before that book so it came as something of a surprise to me to discover that this Firebird his debut short story collection was first published as long ago as 1996This collection is extremely impressive containing some very striking and surprising tales with a loose link of obsessive characters Some are macabre bloodthirsty and surreal others are much grounded in reality One of my favourites was the title story which closes the collection and at 60 pages is almost a novella telling the story in the voices of two brothers the younger Owl clever and obsessed with death and destruction and the elder an alcoholic student dropout They watch the local pub go up in flames and Owl andis friend atch a plan. Ted sculptors spend their careers dismembering themselves in pursuit of their art where wasters ris up with axes and turn into patricides Getting It in the Head is a brilliant bracing tour de for.