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Thursday Quotables – Studs

Chicago Stories (James T. Farrell)

For Studs will be miserable in Heaven, more miserable than he was on those Sunday nights when he would hang around the old poolroom at Fifty-eight and the elevated station, waiting for something to happen. He will find the land of perpetual happiness and goodness dull and boresome, and he’ll be resentful. There will be nothing to do in Heaven but to wait in timeless eternity. There will be no can houses, speakeasies, whores (unless they are reformed) and gambling joints; and neither will there be a shortage of plasterers. He will loaf up and down gold-paved streets where there is not even the suggestion of a poolroom, thinking of Paulie Haggerty, Sport Murphy, Arnold Sheehan and Hink Weber, who are possibly in Hell together because there was no priest around to play a dirty trick on them.

For Studs will be miserable in Heaven – STUDS by James Farrell, the short story that created the character Click To Tweet

As James Farrell himself explains in a brief introduction to this story, this is the first idea that sparkled his most famous work, the Stud Lonigan Trilogy. Here, he says, was the idea of the whole series, with the ending that he initially planned to use as it stands here.

I haven’t read the trilogy, because I honestly find the idea a bit depressing, but this story was surprisingly nice. It’s the story of a wake, but there is humour in it. There’s a spark of rebelliousness that is kind of unusual in Farrell, a mix of defiance and defeat. I really liked it.

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  1. Head over to Bookshelf Fantasies, who sponsors the Thursday Quotables, and join in the fun.
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  3. Maybe you’ve read this author too and would love to share your opinion. By all means do it in the comment box below. I’ll never object.

Pinterest pin. The text reads, "Studs by James Farrell - Bool Review". The black-and-white picture shows a lonely inner city backstreet.
Quotables Studs


  • Sinead
    Posted August 13, 2015 at 13:31

    I’ve never read this author either, but that quote is really thought-provoking and interesting! Nice one 🙂

    Here’s mine:

    • Post Author
      Posted August 14, 2015 at 06:25

      As I said on other quotes from Farrell, I don’t always enjoy him, because of his aesthetics, but other times I think he’s really powerful.
      After reading this short story, I understood why it then became a thilogy 😉
      Thanks for stopping by.

  • Clare
    Posted August 13, 2015 at 15:11

    I’ve never read anything by him but that quote intrigues me!

    • Post Author
      Posted August 14, 2015 at 06:26

      I think the antology I’m reading (Chicago Stories) is the best place to start reading Farrell. You can also see whether he’s your kind of writer, because he sure has a particular style.

  • Lisa @ Bookshelf Fantasies
    Posted August 14, 2015 at 02:22

    That’s interesting — why the future tense? It’s a very cute concept, how heaven would be boring for someone used to a life of “vices”. The last line is great – creates a lot of curiosity about the priest and his dirty trick.

    • Post Author
      Posted August 14, 2015 at 06:28

      Goodness, Lisa, I didn’t recognise you with the new avatar!

      I’ve always resisted reading the Studs Lonigan Trilogy because the concept kind of depresses me. But this story is actually very good, and even if it deals with death, there is a lot of humour to it.
      I’m still not sold on reading the entire trilogy, but…

  • Sue Archer
    Posted August 15, 2015 at 02:03

    That’s a heck of a quote! I really love that final line.

  • Amy
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 19:32

    Great quote! It gives you a real feel of the world the book’s set in 🙂 I like that. I think it’d be an interesting read.
    Have a great day,
    Amy x

    • Post Author
      Posted August 16, 2015 at 20:56

      The mood is really one of the best things in the story, in my opinion.
      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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