Sunday, 9 September 2012
Review of A Baker's Dozen
This review is by Vincent McDonnell, well known author. Read more about Vincent at the following link, http://www.collinspress.ie/vincent-mcdonnell.html
Like the best short story writers, Mary Bradford mines the lives of ordinary people for her characters and their problems - what Frank O'Connor termed the "submerged population" found in all societies. In A BAKER'S DOZEN, Mary's first collection, a gambler tries to come to terms with his addiction, a pregnant woman has a terrible choice to make, a daughter discovers the unpalatable truth about her father, an anonymous letter writer sees faults in everyone but not in herself. These are some of the characters we encounter in the stories - characters who, while wrestling with their problems, illuminate for the reader what it is to be a human in our modern society. Though having great compassion for her characters, Mary Bradford is too perceptive a writer to offer glib solutions to their problems. She is aware, as was Chekhov that the short story should not offer a panacea to society’s ills and problems, but rather should throw a light on them - to say, "This is what the world is like".
This is a quiet, controlled collection of stories which leaves one with much to ponder, the characters remaining with the reader long after they have finished the collection. It bodes well for the future and I've no doubt that Mary Bradford will continue to mine the world she knows so well so that she can once again hold up a mirror to society and show us the extraordinary courage and resilience of ordinary people.
Mary Bradford's, A BAKER'S DOZEN is a very fine achievement indeed by a very fine writer and demands to be read. I look forward with great anticipation to her next collection.