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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.
A Best Book of the Year from the New York Times and Oprah Daily
“Shot through with dark humor, pitch-perfect dialogue and a signature freshness that makes life palpable on the page… Homesickness is graced with an original, lingering beauty.”
— Stuart Dybek, New York Times Book Review
“With dark humor and lyrical expansiveness, Barrett’s second collection of stories captures the weirdness and beauty of seemingly ordinary lives.”
— New Yorker, Best Books of 2022 So Far
“Many a writer claims mastery of technique, but few deliver at the level of Colin Barrett, whose roving perspectives, lopped-off endings and Kevin Barry-esque dialogue dazzle in his second collection…Barrett is a doyen of the sentence; each snaps and sings like a bullwhip. We know these people because we hear and see them in perfect clarity—they’re not homesick so much as sick of home.”
— Oprah Daily
“Superb… 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.”
“Colin Barrett… owns the domain of the short story…. He writes what he knows, but he also writes to discover what he doesn’t know, a simple but crucial distinction you can sense instinctively, no matter how many of his compatriots you’ve already read.”
— Los Angeles Times
“A beautiful and moving collection, from one of the best story writers in the English language today.”
— Financial Times
About the Author
Colin Barrett was born in 1982 and grew up in County Mayo. In 2009 he was awarded the Penguin Ireland Prize. Young Skins won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, the Guardian First Book Award, and the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. His work has been published in The New Yorker, A Public Space, Granta, and The Stinging Fly. In 2015, Barrett was named a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35.”
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