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THE FATAL MOVE AND OTHER STORIES
by Conall Cearnach
Printings: March 2021 (350)
Cover image by Thomas Grogan
Style: Dust jacketed hardback
Length: xxxv + 105 pages
Available for pre-order.
“I cannot endure these frequent fits of terror much longer.”
Written in Belfast and Bangor during the partition of Ireland, the six strange stories comprising Conall Cearnach’s The Fatal Move are unusual documents of the time. “Cearnach” was the pseudonym of F. W. O’Connell, a peculiar Protestant divine, linguist and Irish language scholar, oddball essayist, and early national broadcaster. His sole fiction collection showcases a wide scope: the conte cruel, the ghost story, the locked-room mystery, and the science-fictional satire. What unifies the stories is O’Connell’s playful, outward-looking perspective, inspired by his love of the diverse cultures and languages of the world and his home country in equal measure. A unique figure in Irish life, Cearnach’s character is perhaps more present in these stories than the anxieties of the time in which they were written. For this volume, Reggie Chamberlain-King provides an extensive introduction examining O’Connell’s life and works.
"F. W. O'Connell: Master of Strange Tongues"
"The Fatal Move"
"The Vengeance of the Dead"
"The Fiend That Walks Behind"
"The Homing Bone"
"Professor Danvers’ Disappearance"
"The Rejuvenation of Ivan Smithovitch"
"The Nervous Child"
"The Language of the Future"
"Cuchulainn and America"
"The Irish Dante"
“Conall Cearnach” (1876-1929) — F. W. O’Connell — was a polyglot and scholar born in Clifden, Co. Galway. After serving as an Anglican priest, he became the first lecturer of Celtic Languages and Literature at Queen’s University, Belfast. Interested in strange literature, O’Connell made the first translation into Irish of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Cas aduain an Dr Jekyll agus Mhr Hyde in 1929. O’Connell died tragically when he was struck by a bus in October of that year.