The End of the World Is a Cul de Sac: Stories

Books on Tape. Dec. 2023. 735p. ISBN 9780593789070. $76. F
Kennedy (Trespasses) crafts an atmospheric collection of short stories about the complexities of womanhood and interpersonal relationships. Topics range from political unrest to parenting, and though the characters are mainly Irish and Northern Irish, their emotional experiences are universal. In “Gibraltar,” a series of photographs anachronistically tell the story of a cuckolded man who raises and loves a child that is not his own. “Imbolc” heartbreakingly captures the hopefulness of a young, expectant mother who encourages her husband to make money for their small family through illegal activities, inadvertently trapping them in a hopeless, and perhaps loveless, situation. These lyrical, haunting works of literary fiction are reflective and offer little resolution. Narrator Brid Brennan gives an unnervingly sedate performance of the touching tales. She presents each compelling, character-driven story with an immutable composure that belies the heartache and hunger within, yielding a somber but stirring listening experience.
VERDICT This audio will appeal to listeners seeking moving, melancholy contemporary short stories about hope and heartache. Recommended for fans of Anne Enright, Kevin Barry, and Lauren Groff.
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