About Michael Casey's writing
“…lovely clear prose-style, great characters and beautifully crafted vignettes…”
“…I was thoroughly captivated by the fine quality of the prose and the strong deeply-felt characterizations…”
“…elegant, shrewdly observed and with a lovely wry humour…”
“…a very interesting piece of work – an unusual idea, very well executed…”
This is a light-hearted story about two young men and their girlfriends in the rowdy, lived-in Dublin of Brendan Behan, Patrick Kavanagh and Flann O’Brien. They pit their wits against all comers in a last fling before adulthood.
Murf is a ‘chronic student’ who lives dangerously, savouring the roar of the crowd. He is fortunate to meet Gobnait, a kindred spirit, who could become a steadying influence. She sees through his posturing to the deeper reasons that make him a risk junkie.
Rolo is a nervous, gentlemanly sort, often scared by Murf’s escapades. Will he find his feet when he meets the stunning Maura?While the gals have steady jobs, the lads eke out a living by smuggling condoms from Northern Ireland into the South. This ‘modest trade’ lands them in serious trouble with their ‘clients’, the British Army, and eventually the IRA and the police. They lurch from one crisis to another and are repeatedly bailed out by Gobnait and Maura – and by a club of gentle transvestites.Will their splendid women help them grow up or will the lure of shenanigans prove too strong?
“This is a wonderful immersion into the Dublin of the early seventies, a city making do on an island held together by string, bandages and impious prayer. The lead protagonists are immediately credible, their mental and emotional contortions on full display. The plot is like a colourful, writhing snake that may intend no harm.”
— Peter FitzGerald
Maura's Dance with Uncle Sam
Maura, a shy Englishwoman, works for her dentist husband, Harold, who tries to restrict her many outside interests. To his chagrin, Maura appears on a major TV Quiz show. She wins a prize to visit the US and attend a Celebrity New Year’s Eve Ball in Washington DC.
Patrick, a Frenchman, embarks on a dangerous geo-political mission. He kidnaps Harold and poses as Maura’s husband. She has no option but to travel with him to the US, where they meet with celebrities, other prize-winners, and senior political figures. She is racked by guilt, but her worries shift as she realises that Patrick is more a misguided idealist than a terrorist. She can’t help being drawn towards him. Maura begins to fear for her life and his.
The Washington Ball approaches. Tight security is coordinated by a shrewd and ambitious FBI agent with support from Homeland Security. Maura tries desperately to persuade Patrick to abort his mission.
Maura grows in adversity, becomes stronger and more questioning. Even in captivity, Harold is the same old fogey. Then after all seems lost, Maura makes a remarkable discovery that will change everything…
“Against a backdrop of Washington covert dealing and heartless calculation, two figures find their truer selves. Patrick’s idealism battles with human desire. As the plot develops, carefully and unpredictably, we see Maura unfold too, as stronger and more complex than she ever imagined. In a deft storyline told as though in a single breath, the inevitable crisis is a long-delayed reckoning.”
– Peter FitzGerald
The Killing of Ros Grenham
Niall Grenham, a ‘failed priest’, emigrated to the US. He married Rona and they had a daughter, Ros, who is the light of their lives. Ros grows up to be an accomplished and well-meaning young woman. Niall cannot credit his good fortune.After a late-night graduation party, Ros tries to help her childhood friend, Mark, who has gone off the rails and is addicted to drugs. Motivated by jealousy, he engineers a car accident in which Ros is brutally killed.
Mark’s father, who works in the British Embassy, Washington D.C., is the first to realise what has happened. He puts Mark on a plane to New York to alibi him.
Niall and Rona try to deal with their grievous loss in different ways, which causes some estrangement between them. When Niall discovers it was not an accident, and there is not enough evidence to bring Mark to trial, he begins a kind of psychological warfare against Mark and his father. He gives Mark money for drugs, and gives him souvenirs of his early life with Ros. He shows him home movies that feature them both as children, happily playing. He feels diminished by these tactics but will not quit.After many months, the pressure exerted by Niall produces a result, but does it make any difference to his monumental sense of loss? He follows Mark and his father to another country and is prepared to put his own life, marriage, and faith on the line for the sake of his beloved daughter, Ros.
“Bad things, as we know, can happen to good people. But what choices do they make when justice turns away? We live the pain of the bereaved father, and we struggle with the rightness of his decisions. This is compelling writing, in which we feel dilemmas we hope never to confront.”
The frantic preparations for the visit of John Fitzgerald Kennedy to his hometown in Ireland are largely seen through the eyes of Martin Moroney and Eileen Blayney who are beginning to fall in love.
The Mayor of the town, New Ross, has to use all of his considerable skills to keep a sense of order and decorum. He knows that the eyes of the world will be on them. An aggressive CIA advance party causes much grief and forces the Town Council to change its plans for ‘security’ reasons.
The events are keenly observed by Martin and Eileen who ‘come of age’ against the background of the visit. In a sense, the town itself begins to come of age.
The world’s press begins to arrive. Four days before the visit a man checks into the local hotel and registers under the name of L.H. Oswald.
Despite many difficulties, the visit is an outstanding success. Like the return of Ulysses, it is the stuff of myth.
Five months later, JFK is assassinated in Dallas. The town goes into mourning and Martin and Eileen are forced to confront newly-awakened demons.
“…..a lovely clear prose-style…some great characters and beautifully crafted vignettes…”
—Stella Kane, Quartet Books Ltd.
Come Home, Robbie
This is a novel about a crime worse than murder, and one where the main character never appears.
Parents are terrified when their son vanishes into another world. Challenged by trying to understand a very different mind-set, they draw on every resource that they have. Action-driven father and brooding mother fear that their son is being trained for a religious war.
“…part thriller, with all the page-turning urgency of that genre, part astute psychological study of a crumbling marriage and a brain-washed teenager … The background of impending divorce notches up the tension even further so that we are dealing with people permanently on the edge … the sheer quality of the writing lends the story some of the stature of heroic tragedy … The denouement is unexpected and yet leaves the reader with some of the empty feeling of real tragedy … I guarantee that you will find the novel difficult to put down…
“…The writing carries a spine-tingling compulsion…”
Education Times, 1998
The O’Brien Press, 1990
About Michael Casey's short stories
These stories deal with ordinary people, for example a farmer who falls in love with a sophisticated woman, a butcher who shoots a scavenging dog, a letter of complaint to Meryl Streep. But on occasion the characters are not so ordinary. One story deals with a Siamese twin who fears that his brother may commit suicide, another with a woman chef who kills a food critic, another the relationship between a security man and his building, another an aristocrat who trepans himself to relieve depression.
“The crawling figure has reached the steps and lies face down like a crouching dog, limbs bent awkwardly under him. He seems to be etched in black because the snow has melted in a narrow strip around him. If there is body heat he may still be alive.
‘Is there nothing we can….?’
‘No.’ She cuts across him and shuffles a pack of cards. ‘Want a hand?’”
“…Michael Casey has succeeded in bringing to life some vivid characters who, by turn, captivate, amuse and engage. This is an original and exciting author whose work shows a wry observation and quick wit…”
Mike McCormack, 2006
Winner of the Start Chapbook Prize for short stories, 2006
ISBN-13: 978 0 0555598 0 8
Published in The London Magazine, Bridport Anthology, Columbia Magazine of Prose and Poetry, The Tribune, etc.
‘Securex’, The Bridport Anthology, Samson and Company, 2000; and in Signals-3, London Magazine Stories selected by Alan Ross and Jane Rye, 2001
‘Mssrs Trimble And Cluestar’, Columbia Magazine of Poetry and Prose, The Lost Issues, 1993
‘The Sign of the Dog’, Columbia Magazine of Poetry and Prose, The Lost Issues, Number 9, 1984
‘The Wrong Address’, Adapted For Radio, Raidió Telefís Éireann, 2001
‘Normality’, The Tribune (Short-List For Hennessy Award), 1992
‘The Mystery Of It All’, The Tribune (Short-List For Hennessy Award), 1994
‘Treadmill’, Tipperary Arts Festival Winners Chapbook, First Prize, 2006
‘Daniel and Brad and Wheeze Momma’, Ibid.
‘Boring for England’, Shortlisted for Best Story, Listowel Writers Week, 2008
‘Grey and Brown Unrelieved’, Shortlisted for Molly Keane Creative Writing Award, 2008
‘Letter to Meryl’, Orbis, 2014
‘Playing Through’, Leapfrog Press, Spring 2015