The Great Profundo and Other Stories

By Bernard MacLaverty

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On the fringes of society, the characters of Bernard MacLaverty’s stories are forced to seek consolation as best as they can, from the deserted windswept coast of a troubled Ireland to the sun-drenched landscapes of Portugal. With deep compassion and gentle irony, Bernard MacLaverty portrays the insecurity and flickering hope of the afflicted and estranged.

Extract from ‘Words the Happy Say’

“After he had cleared the breakfast things he guided the crumbs to the edge of the table with a damp cloth and wiped them into his cupped and withered hand. He took out his board and laid it on the cleaned surface. Some people liked to work at a tilt but he had always preferred it flat in front of him. From his back window on the third floor he could hear the children moving along the driveway into the primary school. Because it was summer and the large lime tree, sandwiched between the blackened gable ends, was in full leaf, he could see them only from the waist down. He noticed the boys with rumpled socks and dirty shoes always walked together. Girls, neat in white ankle-socks, would hop-scotch and skip past in a different group. If he stood on tiptoe at the window he could see down into the small back yard but he no longer bothered to get up from his work for the diversion of seeing the new girl downstairs getting a shovel of coal.

He arranged his inks and distilled water and set his porcelain mixing-dish in the middle. Each shallow oval indentation shone with a miniature reflection of the window.”

Copyright © Bernard MacLaverty. Reproduced by permission of the author c/o Rogers, Coleridge and White Ltd., 20 Powis Mews, London W11 1JN

The book contains the following short stories by Bernard MacLaverty:
Words the Happy Say
The Break
The Drapery Man
More than just the Disease
In the Hills above Lugano
End of Season
The Great Profundo
Death of a Parish Priest
Some Surrender
Across the Street

A collection of stories that investigates the lives of ordinary people living with the Troubles on a daily basis.

Further Infomation


The Sunday Press: Mr MacLaverty grows in strength with each succeeding book… He is the master of the small, telling phrase, or the perfect line of description. His sense of place is always authentic, his dialogue pitched so naturally that one can hear it. In short, he’s a wonder.

Tom Adair in The Scotsman: ...our shrewdest and most sensitive explorer of the inwardness of lives.

Jean Gordon in Vogue: These are finely-spun, powerful and compassionate stories. MacLaverty writes with a focused and penetrating intensity, his prose arrestingly simple.

The Good Book Guide: We’re in the hands of a master here… peerless short fiction… MacLaverty writes the way most people breathe - easily, deeply, like it was the most life-affirming activity in the world.







Short Stories