Eveline, a short story by Donal Ryan-Dubliners 100
This story could have gone either way. As of all the stories in this book. Luckily it went the good way. Donal Ryan is a rather good writer, we know this. He has written two superb novels, which I enjoyed. He sees Ireland so he was the top choice for a retake of any of the Dubliners’ stories. He was given Eveline.
He subtly brings the old story of Eveline to a modern Ireland in a non stereotypical way. In this story we get asylum seekers and welcome parties. He adjusts and changes small details likes the sex of the narrator, who is a man called Eveline. This was a brilliant touch and only adds to the domineering force of Eveline’s mother within this story. In Donal Ryan’s take of Eveline, we get the full-on character of the mother as opposed to the father in Joyce’s. The narrator is feminised and weak, firstly with his name and we get some wonderful flashbacks to when he was little. Again, in a similar way that Joyce does with his Eveline.
Eveline meets a lady called Hope. These names are chosen so well! Hope is all that hope should not signify. An aggressive and bitter lady who is seeking refuge in Ireland, something she hopes Eveline might be able to help her with. Hope is quite the attractive, young lady so of course, Eveline wants to help her, The struggle between the guilt of leaving his mother and dedicating his life to Hope is something we read into in Joyce’s story but Ryan brings the story on further by letting the reader see what a hopeless, pointless deed it would be if he were to give his mother up for Hope. Indeed, it summarises the character of Eveline as well as Joyce could have done.
Donal can write short stories as well as novels. Damn him.
Eveline by Donal Ryan is published in Dubliners 100, by Tramp Press and edited by Thomas Morris