Homesickness: Book summary and reviews of Homesickness by Colin Barrett

Homesickness

by Colin Barrett

Homesickness by Colin Barrett X
Homesickness by Colin Barrett
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  • Published May 2022
    224 pages
    Genre: Short Stories

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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Barrett's stories are, without exception, beautifully written, full of arresting imagery." – Booklist (starred review)

"Bittersweet and chiseled…From gritty realism to oddball noir, this assured collection demonstrates the talent of a distinctive writer." - Publishers Weekly

"Eight richly descriptive stories examine the various textures of disappointment in families and communities where success is not the norm...This sharply observant collection resists pigeonholing its recalcitrant characters." - Kirkus Reviews

"Barrett's mostly dogged characters live hardscrabble lives, and in this strong second collection—not a repeat act—readers become involved in the simple but crucial issue of how they will manage." - Library Journal

"If there is any concern about the health of the short story in the next generation of Irish writers, Colin Barrett's Homesickness: Stories, his second collection, should help put that to rest. Like novelist Sally Rooney, Barrett is well-attuned to the attitudes and preoccupations of mostly younger Irish men and women, though his subjects are markedly dissimilar to the highly educated, intensely verbal characters in Rooney's work...Characters like these may be humble, but there's nothing unimpressive about their portrayal in these thoughtful, well-wrought tales." - Shelf Awareness

"Superb…[T]here 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." - The Guardian (UK)

"A masterwork—by turns hilarious and heart-breaking, 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 the 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

This information about Homesickness was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Colin Barrett

Colin Barrett is from County Mayo, Ireland. In 2009 he was awarded the Penguin Ireland Prize, and his debut collection Young Skins won the Rooney Prize, the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Prize, the Guardian First Book Award and was a National Book Foundation "5 Under 35". In 2018 he was announced as the Rolex Arts Initiative Literary Protege, mentored by Colm Toibin. His stories have appeared in New Yorker, The Stinging Fly, New Statesman, Harper's and on BBC Radio 4.

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