The Recital

This study guide will help you analyse the text “The Recital” by Eimear Ryan. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on summary, structure, characters, setting, narrator and point of view, language, theme, use of contrasts, and help you put the text in perspective.

Presentation of the text

Title: “The Recital”
Author: Eimear Ryan
Published in: Town and Country: New Irish Short Stories
Year of Publication: 2013
Genre: Short story

Eimear Ryan is an Irish writer and co-editor of the literary journal Banshee. Her short stories have been published in various literary magazines.



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The title of the short story, “The Recital”, suggests that the plot is related to music and will most likely follow a musician. The musician in the story is Grace, a young graduate who does not have confidence in herself because her sister always outshined her. The title refers to the improvised recital Grace and Liam (a politician) give in the bar she works in one night: “I played one of Chopin’s trippier pieces, showing off, revelling in the looks I drew. It was so different from playing in draughty practice halls. I didn’t even feel like a pianist.” (ll. 56-58); “…closed his eyes, and sang. It was more of a recital; his voice was nothing special. Still, it was mournful and deeply felt.” (ll. 62-63)

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The Recital

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