Midfield Dynamo: Arresting short stories – in team formation
Book review: Adrian Duncan’s new collection consolidates his reputation as one of the most captivating and distinctive voices in contemporary Irish writing
Adrian Duncan, the author of Midfield Dynamo, explains how he has organised the stories in the 1-4-4-2 team formation.
He wants to impress his mother. But how? He decides to build her two towers in a forest that she owns. In this baroque fairytale of engineering folly, titled Two Towers in a Forest, the draughtsman hero is caught between the exacting precision of his profession and the deranged beauty of his obsessions. When he explains to his friend Allen why he wants to use balsa as a construction material, his reasoning is simple: “Workability and fragrance.”
Adrian Duncan’s arresting new collection of stories consolidates his reputation as one of the most captivating and distinctive voices in contemporary Irish writing. His previous two novels, Love Notes from a German Building Site (2019) and A Sabbatical in Leipzig (2020), signalled the arrival of a writer gifted with an exciting attention to the formal possibilities of fiction and an unfailing eye for neglected details that shore up a life. The building sites of the novels provide much scope for exploring the vocabulary of construction in ordinary human stories – shape, structure, resilience, collapse. These recur in Duncan’s stories.