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Irish Girl

Tim Johnston

Publication Year: 2009

Inside Tim Johnston's Irish Girl, readers will find spellbinding stories of loss, absence, and the devastating effects of chance—of what happens when the unthinkable bad luck of other people, of other towns, becomes our bad luck, our town. Taut, lucid, and engrossing, provocative and dark—and often darkly funny—these stories have much to offer the lover of literary fiction as well as the reader who just loves a great story. "This is white-knuckle prose; it means what it says and it says what it means. Not that I count words, but when an image can be etched in fewer than ten, I sit up and take notice. When an image is limned in fewer than five words, I pretty near shiver. The stories in Irish Girl provide more shiver per page than most stories provide in twenty."—Janet Peery, judge and author of The River Beyond the World

Published by: University of North Texas Press

Series: Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction

Half Title

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Title Page

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Table of Contents

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pp. vii

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pp. ix

Some of the stories in this collection have appeared elsewhere, in slightly different form: “Jumping Man” in Best Life Magazine; “Lucky Gorseman” in Colorado Review; “Water” at GivalPress.com; “Dirt Men” in New Letters; and “Irish Girl” in DoubleTake Magazine, the 2003 O. Henry Prize Stories, and Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules. Grateful acknowledgment is made to these publications and their editors....

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Dirt Men

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pp. 1-13

It’s old Jimmy Day who finds it, digging away on a tract of greasy earth that two days ago was an auto salvage lot. (Where those dripping wrecks ended up we don’t ask: our focus has been on leveling the land so that pavement can get in there and lid the whole toxic stretch with two feet of concrete, pronto.) I was...

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pp. 14-32

She lay in the dark, not breathing. At one window the drapes were shaped by faint light from the street, but at the other there was nothing, no light from the neighbors, no moonlight, and the effect was briefly frightening, as if the wall had fallen away into space, or a black sea....

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Things Go Missing

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pp. 33-52

For a while, there, I was a burglar. I mean I walked uninvited into people’s homes and took their things and kept them for myself—though usually not for very long. My locker would fill up and girls would notice, the way girls do, and if they saw something they liked I’d either give it to them or take some cash just...

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Antlerless Hunt

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pp. 53-72

The young man had a truck in the air on a rotation job and he was in such a deep, thoughtless rhythm, nothing in his mind but the pneumatic burst of the driver, the clang of a lug in the pan, another scream of the gun, that it took a shout from the next bay over, half-deaf Haskins with that slug of plastic in his ear,...

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Jumping Man

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pp. 73-87

A child goes missing one afternoon, somebody’s little girl, and the news is a stick, an accurate rock, to the quiet hive of Sunday. Mowers are killed mid-lawn, propane grills are snuffed, wet limbs are plucked from pools and sorted and banished from water, from fun itself, until further notice. Adults and teenagers fan out, lacing...

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Lucky Gorseman

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pp. 88-103

A river divides the campus now as ever, not equally, but so utterly that a citylike distinction can’t be helped: East Side, West Side. The East Side is philosophy and English and art and music and no decent places to drink. This is my side. I live here in an 8-plex with a Russian poet I met the day I moved in and haven’t seen since. He’s got an American girlfriend on the West...

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Up There

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pp. 104-123

He looked away, beyond her, into the strangeness of the room: the outline of a little desk, the black gleam of a TV. His blood was pumping hard from a dream. When he spoke, his troubled face seemed to be saying, Where am I? What is this place? but what he said was: “Timezit?”...

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Irish Girl

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pp. 124-137

Before that, of course, were things Charlie didn’t know much about, being eight. He didn’t know about Nixon’s decision to send troops into Cambodia, or how that led to the shootings at Kent State, or how that led, in turn, to the smashed shop windows in his own home town. He did know a little about the thirteen...

E-ISBN-13: 9781574413281
Print-ISBN-13: 9781574412710

Page Count: 152
Publication Year: 2009

Series Title: Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction

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Subject Headings

  • Fathers and sons -- Fiction.
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