Jobs for a Wet Day by Ger Reidy was recently launched at the Westport Arts Festival by Arlen House. 'A powerful chiselled collection of short stories which are by turns funny and bleak and compassionate,' is how Mike McCormack describes it and how right he is. This in no mean feat for a debut collection.
There is no sentimentality here but an authentic and scrupulous depiction of rural existence in all its drudgery and small lives. Characters move through the pages with resigned acceptance of the weather and the pain and the few bob that comes to them through the headage payments but with that resignation comes humour too. We are introduced to Gaughan, whose life revolves around the arrival of the postman and what he might bring or, Reilly who stretches his life beyond the grey confines of his world to visit a woman in Mexico City. Then there is the wonderful world that Reidy creates in 'My Big Day' where the character seems like he has just stepped into, or out of, a page from Juan Rulfo's Pedro Páramo..
The stories are well and truly imagined by the perfectly chosen art work by Dermot Seymour on the front cover. Congratulations to Ger on this fine achievement. That it may soar.