The journey of Geraldine Mills into the world of the short story has earned her many plaudits, and it is clear from this collection, why. She shines a high definition light into the varied landscapes of her different characters, so that even her minor actors are presented to us in a very visual way and leave very strong imprints.
This is no surprise, for readers more familiar with Geraldine’s work as a poet. She brings lyricism to her prose, along with a keen sense of how the surreal crops up in everyday life. Here we meet Aunt Lillis who lets the birds peck food from her teeth, the good doctor who helps women “keep their hearts in one place,” or Stella who has a penchant for young boys.
Her heroes fight constant battles with jealousy, marital disappointment, infidelity and death. Though the themes are dark, they are not without humour. Some battles are won, others lost, all wholly engrossing. Taking the title from her Hennessy award-winning story “Lick of the Lizard,” the prose in these nine highly-wrought stories sings, and the collection is a welcome addition to the Irish literary pantheon.