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Dermot Healy was well-regarded by other Irish writers. I am not Irish.

The collection i read selections from included his 1982 published collection “Banished Misfortune and Other Stories.” The Editors’ Forward was helpful in understanding some of the stories I read.

“First Snow of the Year” is a story about a jilted boyfriend who confronts the new love interest. There are two versions of this story, the original version being written in 1973. It won a Hennessy Literary award adjudicated by Edna O’Brien and V.S. Pritchett. The two versions are different structurally and substantively. The prose in the earlier version was cleaner than the later version. The latter is not experimental as “The Island and the Calves” which is dense and difficult to read and comprehend. After this story I decided to read only selective stories.

The stories are descriptive of rural Ireland and its locals. I was underwhelmed by what I read, the highlight being able to compare different versions of the same story. I wish readers had more opportunities to do so as it is a window into the writer’s craft during stages of the author’s career. It would be instructive to writers. The same would be true by seeing drafts to evaluate contributions by editors.