Books: Twelve Tart Tales

THE COMMON CHORD, STORIES AND TALES OF IRELAND (278 pp.) — Frank O'Connor—Knopf ($2.75).

Frank O'Connor of County Cork is blessed with a rare, enviable talent: he can express serious ideas in blandly humorous, seemingly inconsequential stories. The twelve tart tales in this book create an imaginary world as real, and certainly as relevant, as daily experience itself.

O'Connor's stories are set in small Irish towns where good-natured, bumbling provincials doze through their days in even rhythms, scarcely touched by the frenetic spleen of cosmopolitan existence, and only occasionally shaken into surprised awareness...

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