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Fiction Short Stories (single Author)



by (author) Colin Barrett

McClelland & Stewart
Initial publish date
May 2022
Short Stories (single author), General, Literary
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2022
    List Price

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The second book from the “exact and poetic” (New York Times) author of critical smash Young Skins, winner of the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35, Homesickness is an emotionally resonant and wonderfully wry collection that follows the lives of outcasts, misfits, and malcontents from County Mayo to Canada.

When Colin Barrett’s debut Young Skins published, it swept up several major literary awards, and, in both its linguistic originality and sharply drawn portraits of working-class Ireland, earned Barrett comparisons to Faulkner, Hardy, and Musil. Now, in a blistering follow-up collection, Barrett brings together eight character-driven stories, each showcasing his inimitably observant eye and darkly funny style.  
    A quiet night in a local pub is shattered by the arrival of a sword-wielding fugitive; a funeral party teeters on the edge of this world and the next, as ghosts simply won’t lay in wake; a shooting sees a veteran policewoman confront the banality of her own existence; and an aspiring writer grapples with his father’s cancer diagnosis and in his despair wreaks havoc on his mentor’s life. 
    The second piece of fiction from a “lyrical and tough and smart” (Anne Enright) voice in contemporary Irish literature, Homesickness marks Colin Barrett out as our most brilliantly original and captivating storyteller.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Colin Barrett was born in Canada in 1982 and grew up in County Mayo, Ireland. In 2009 he was awarded the Penguin Ireland Prize, and in 2014 his debut collection of stories Young Skins was published and awarded The Rooney Prize, The Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize and The Guardian First Book Award. He is a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Honoree. He lives in Toronto with his wife and daughter.

Editorial Reviews

“Homesickness is graced with an original, lingering beauty.”
—Stuart Dybek for the New York Times

“This is a mesmerisingly powerful book, full of the strangeness and beauty of life. I’ve learned so much from Colin Barrett’s work as a reader and writer and I think these stories are his best yet.”
—Sally Rooney
Homesickness is a masterwork—by turns hilarious and heartbreaking, these stories shimmer. No story writer at work today thrills me more than Colin Barrett, whose characters feel immediately so familiar and true in their capacity to maim and love. What fierce, tender stories. Totally unforgettable.”
—Brandon Taylor
“Something struck me as I read these beautifully crafted, desperately sad, but often very funny stories: there is now a branch of English called Colin Barrett.”
—Roddy Doyle
“The stories in Homesickness are crafted with skill and flair. Colin Barrett anchors the work with emotional accuracy and careful delineation of character, and then, using metaphors and beautifully made sentences, he lets his narrative soar.”
—Colm Tóibín

“In ‘The Ways,’ the second story in Colin Barrett’s superb second collection, every sentence is as full and alive as a sentence can be, while managing to stay ordinary. . . . In its highest style, the work fits into a tradition that moves through Kevin Barry and Marina Carr back to the epic tales of old Ireland, a mode that shifted from the heroic into the mock-heroic in the work of Joyce and Flann O’Brien. . . .  A little bit grandiose, a little bit disgusting, [the] dialogue is rich, comical and full of grace notes. . . . I don’t think it is too strong to say that Barrett’s work hit an inflection point in Irish culture. . . . In each of Barrett’s styles, however, there is an utterness to his attention, a devotion to the lives of his characters, that shifts the work into some more lasting place. Barrett is already one of the leading writers of the Irish short story, which is to braggingly say, one of the leading writers of the short story anywhere. He means every word and regrets every word. He just kills it.”
—Anne Enright for the Guardian
Homesickness may be the title of the Irish writer Colin Barrett’s second collection of stories but, with one exception, his protagonists live in the small towns and rural communities of County Mayo where they grew up. Is it possible to feel homesick even when you’re home? Is home a time as much as a place? Does a disaffection take root when you stay close to home for too long? Such questions linger in the mind after reading these eight stories, which more than deliver on the promise of Barrett’s acclaimed debut, Young Skins (2014).
Where that first collection told with panache the stories of young petty criminals in a fictional part of Ireland, Homesickness feels more grounded, in part due to its real setting, gentler pace and concern with older characters. . . . You could open Homesickness at any page and find sentences of vim and elegance, ringing dialogue (“Cats are awful eerie creatures…”) and similes to savour: a pint of Guinness with a “head on it as neat as a hotel duvet” or, a few pages later, “dozens of cows stood around in the car park, gormless as wardrobes”. . . . [“The 10”] is a subtle story to close a collection, which confirms Barrett’s position at the forefront of the golden generation of writers who have emerged from Ireland over the past decade.”
—iNews UK