Short story #7: The Sniper (Liam O’Flaherty)

Deal Me In Reading Challenge: I drew the ace of hearts.

Story: The Sniper, by Liam O’Flaherty (widely available; I read it at

Comments: This is a brilliantly-written story.  It covers just a few hours in the life of an unnamed sniper, on duty overnight on a rooftop near the centre of Dublin city, during the Irish Civil War (1922-23).  In a few short pages we accompany him through his hungry night vigil, until he is spotted, shot and wounded by an enemy sniper on another city roof-top – whom our protagonist subsequently shoots and kills.  There is a twist in the end of the tale, but even when one knows the ending, the story is gripping.  Not a wasted word.  No moralising, just telling the awful facts the way they were.  This tragedy is being played out in so many parts of the world today.

I learned that this was O’Flaherty’s first published work.  Wow, what a start to a writing career.  Any budding writer should read it and learn from it.


3 thoughts on “Short story #7: The Sniper (Liam O’Flaherty)

  1. Sounds like a winner! I’m adding it to my short story TBR list. Thanks for sharing the link. I think I’ll update my original DMI challenge post too include the classic shorts link for others as well.

    I was reminded a little of another sniper vs. sniper tale, this one the surprisingly good 2001 movie “Enemy at the Gates” with Jude Law and Ed Harris as the Russian and German snipers, respectively. Have you seen it?


  2. Pingback: Deal Me In Week 7 Wrap-Up | Bibliophilopolis

  3. This story sounds great! I think sometime in the near future, I’m going to have to do some ad hoc short story reading. I can’t wait until next year. And this will story will definitely be included. And thanks for the link to classic shorts.

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