Paul Murray wrote this story way back before the idea for the new Dubliners 100 was born. It is a thought provoking piece that brings the old Joyce story up to date but retains the themes of loneliness, silence and missed opportunity.
The character in the story, James who feels this great loneliness, does not realise it though. In Joyce’s there is some recognition of where the main character is at. In Joyce’s original, the pop of the story comes when the married lady touches James’ hand. In Murray’s story, the pop of the story too comes with a touch of the hand and it is a revelation to the reader and the main character when it happens.
Murray’s story really reaks of the loneliness and futility of life in a busy, switched on world. Murray has done a great job of making this story his own but while keeping to the original’s feel. Joyce would like and laugh,
A Painful Case by Paul Murray is published in Dubliners 100 by Tramp Press