End of Days marks beginning of a new talent for Irish fiction

Aileen Armstrong’s mother once described her daughter as being a very observant child.

That’s a characteristic the adult Aileen still possesses in abundance, as is apparent from her debut collection of short stories, End of Days which was published recently by Galway’s Doire Press.

Set in France and Ireland in the years between 1998 and 2012, the eight stories in End of Days are a pleasure to read. As each story unfolds it gradually becomes obvious that several characters interconnect throughout the book in subtle ways, linking events and providing an overarching picture of people’s lives. At the core of the stories is the restless and wandering Marianne, whose lovers, friends and family also populate the pages.

Interlinking the stories was not something that Aileen, a graduate of NUIG’s MA in Writing course, had set out to do when she started writing them.

“Sometimes people want stand-alone stories, so it’s not something I made a decision about in advance. When I was writing, I had to put a structure on things, but it wasn’t a conscious decision. It was the only way it was working. Sometimes you are dragged kicking and screaming into the direction a story wants to be written.”