There is something wonderful about a story that has an ending that you had no way of predicting and this falls into that category. The reason it works so well is because you step into the mind of the main character of Gabriel and understand just how much it upsets him when he gets it wrong guessing what his wife Gretta is thinking.
At a family get together the nephew of three aunts carries out his duty and carves the goose and then delivers a speech which wins applause and the affection of his aunts. The only fly in the ointment is that he has a row with a University colleague who accuses him of not loving his country. But she leaves early and as the evening draws to an end he is content at having a successful evening and starts to think lustful thoughts about his wife. Just before they leave she is captivated by a song sung badly by one the guests. Once home Gabriel’s lust is stirring and he starts to think that Gretta shares it when she unexpectedly kisses him but when pushed on the question of what she is thinking about it turns out that far from thinking about her husband she is dwelling on the memory of a boy she used to know that sang that song. He died, partly for her, and leaves Gabriel realising that he is struggling to match up and far from being a successful evening he is left feeling empty.
Review of Dubliners will follow at the weekend…