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March 20, 2023


#Ireland Louise Kennedy

by NancyElin


The End of the World is a Cul de Sac by Louise Kennedy by Louise Kennedy (no photo)

Finish date:  March 2023
Genre: short stories (15)
Rating: A
Review: The End of the World is a Cul de Sac (ISBN: 9781526623270)

Good news: Ms Louise Kennedy brings the quality of short story writing to a new level!
Her eye for detail is meticulous…very precise even about trivial things!
When the author described a woman in her home doing the dishes…or ferreting in her make-up bag…I said: “I do that!” That is the strength of these stories…you are drawn in with bits and pieces of the narrative and you embrace them!

Good news: Louise Kennedy’s collection of short stories, The End of the World is a Cul de Sac, has won the John McGahern Prize for a debut book of Irish fiction published in 2021.

Good news: This collection is just the right length: 15 stories…reading time about 5 hours. I’ve learned a valuable lesson this year…NO more short story collection with 40 stories. It is just not doable…my eyes start to glaze over. When it comes to stories…less is more.

Personal: We all complain about not having enough time to tuck into a massive novel (600+ pages…).
Well the alternatives are novellas and short story collections. I don’t like to re-hash what I read but I like to give a short story collection a score. I enjoyed 10 of the 15 stories (67%). Selecting the story I like the best is difficult…there were so many….but I will mention 2: “Powder” (widow bringing her husband’s ashes back to Ireland) and “Garland Sunday” (family secrets revealed…)
PS: Top far are: Redeployment (P. Klay) – A Manual for Cleaning Women (L. Berlin) – Dark As Last Night (T. Birch) – Walk the Blue Fields (C. Keegan) -reviews are on page SHORT STORY WRITERS


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8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mar 21 2023

    Adding this to my TBR!

    • Mar 21 2023

      I hope after a few weeks in LA…after you have settled into West coast living…you all have time for Louise Kennedy’s short stories. Just 5 hour reading time…15 stories…put Marilyn on your lap and enjoy a great book!

  2. Mar 21 2023

    Okay, I have Kennedy’s Trespasser’s on my TBR for soon. Sounds like I will be looking out for this collection as well. Like you, I love a short story done well.

    • Mar 21 2023

      I just read that Cathy 746 books like these short stories more than Trespasses. Curious to hear which one you prefer! Still typing with one hand so no long reviews expected soon…just those I had scheduled before my fall. Thanks for you comments!

  3. Mar 21 2023

    So glad you liked this Nancy, I loved it even more than Trespasses.

    • Mar 21 2023

      What I liked about Kennedy’s stories was the sense of felt life (Powder” (widow bringing her husband’s ashes back to Ireland) and
      …the ability to match painful and difficult truth with wit and sharp humour.
      I hope we get more of her stories!

  4. Mar 23 2023

    Interesting, I have just finished Trespasses and ‘evocative of atmosphere’ and details is definitely something I would ascribe to her work, the sense of place. I would be interested to see how these stories do the same, thank you for bringing them to us in your review.

    Clearly being a twice winner of the Times short story award this is going to be a great collection.

    • Mar 23 2023

      Ms Kennedy …she has the writing skills to be sure!
      Her stories are “slices of life” and she never over-eggs the pudding….adding unnecessary details to make something seem better. Ms Kennedy looks for “le mot juste”!


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