Books: Corkers COLLECTED STORIES by Frank O'Connor

Knopf; 702 pages; $20

COLLECTED STORIES by Frank O'Connor Knopf; 702 pages; $20

Frank O'Connor (1903-1966) once described the short story as "the literature of submerged population groups." It is a regional definition with an old-fashioned thump of authenticity. O'Connor, born Michael O'Donovan in Cork, was no innovator. His stories lowered the reader directly into the weedy, half-lit world of Irish town life.

O'Connor's literary roots owed much to small-town gossip. His father was a laborer who measured his days in pints. But the future writer had a strong mother figure in Minnie O'Donovan. She put bread on the...

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