Title: A Happy Birthday
Author: Bernard MacLaverty
Taken from: Collected Stories
Bernard MacLaverty is not well known in India. In fact, I do not even know how many people would have heard of him at all. I remember falling in love with his writing when I read, “Grace Notes” which was also shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1997. So, today I picked a story from his collected stories titled, “A Happy Birthday”.
The story is set in Ireland. His stories are domestic and to me that works beautifully where he imagines them and comes from. Sammy is unemployed. He spends the entire day in the library reading, waiting for something to come along. That is the idea. His mother is not aware of this. That is another layer to the story. In about less than four pages, MacLaverty tells us what he has to with great sensitivity and restraint. I am glad I read this today. Short, full of pathos, confusion and life.