Young Skins: Stories

Product Details
$17.00  $15.81
Grove Press, Black Cat
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.3 X 0.7 inches | 0.65 pounds

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About the Author
Colin Barrett was born in 1982 and grew up in County Mayo, Ireland. In 2009 he was awarded the Penguin Ireland Prize. His stories have appeared in Stinging Fly magazine, A Public Space, Five Dials, and the New Yorker. This is his first book.
A National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Honoree

Winner of the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award; Winner of the Guardian First Book Award; Winner of the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature

"[Young Skins ]lives up to its laurels...exact and poetic...One sign of [Barrett's] striking maturity as a writer is that his characters stay in character...A clumsier writer might have made Arm (and other characters besides) an unconvincing juxtaposition of outward violence and inner sentimentality. Mr. Barrett makes him seamless and convincing: brutish but alive...Mr. Barrett does foundational things exceedingly well--structure, choices of (and switches in) perspective--without drawing attention to them. These are stories that are likely to be taught for their form...His judgment is better than authoritative; it is imaginative and enlarging."--New York Times

"Gritty...the stories often veer off in surprising narrative and stylistic directions...Barrett's voice, though bolstered by Irish tradition, is entirely his own."--New Yorker

"Sharp and lively...a rough, charged, and surprisingly fun read."--Interview Magazine

"A writer to watch out for."--Guernica

"The stories blend moments of horror with moments of hilarity, shocks of joy with shocks of despair, and no matter how grim a given scene by Barrett can get, it's a thrill to be alive to hear him."--Paris Review

"Young Irish writer Colin Barrett's subversive short story collection, Young Skins, may very well become my favorite book of 2015...Young Skins heralds a brilliant new age for Irish literature...Barrett's meticulously crafted narratives brim with plucky dialectical poetry so rhythmic it'll stick in your head like a three-chord punk song. These six stories and one novella brim also with the particular pleasure of a young writer operating with confidence and a wide-open heart. Rightly so: like James Joyce's Dubliners or Roddy Doyle's Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha before him, Barrett proves that writing what you know can yield subversive and innovative results."--Bustle

"Mesmerizing...brutal, linguistically stylish tales of Sisyphean young men, voluntarily trapped within the confines of the fictional west of Ireland town of Glanbeigh."--Electric Literature

"Sometimes comic, sometimes melancholy, Young Skins touches the heart, as well as the mind."--Irish American Post

"The collection's true impact comes in the gifted prose of Barrett, which flourishes in poetic and spare scenes; he is an assured, powerful new literary voice."--Publishers Weekly (starred, boxed review)

"Justly acclaimed for his lyrical, deadpan style by some of the giants of contemporary Irish literature, including Anne Enright and Colm Tóibín, Barrett offers an extraordinary debut that heralds a brutal yet alluring new voice in contemporary fiction."--Library Journal (starred review)

"Barrett knows the woods and roads surrounding Glanbeigh as well as he understands the youth who roam them. This is his territory, his people. He writes with beauty and a toughness that captures the essence of boredom and angst. Barrett has given us moments that resonate true to a culture, a population and a geography that is fertile with the stuff of good fiction."--Kirkus

"Many fiction writers are attracted to non-existent but identifiable settings. Thomas Hardy created Wessex, Robert Musil transformed Austria-Hungary into Kakania, and in Absalom, Absalom! William Faulkner literally mapped his Yoknapatawpha county. At once Lafayette, Mississippi, and not Lafayette, Mississippi, Yoknapatawpha offered readers a familiar setting without the danger of their imaginations snagging on the join between reality and fiction. Colin Barrett confidently secures this same blend of familiarity and freedom with the first line of his debut short-story collection...his stories invite second readings that...seem to uncover sentences that weren't there the first time around. Chekhov once told his publisher that it isn't the business of a writer to answer questions, only to formulate them correctly. Throughout this extraordinary debut, but particularly in the excellent stories that bookend it, Colin Barrett is asking the right questions."--The Guardian (UK)

"A stunning debut...The timeless nature of each story means this collection can - and will - be read many years from now."--The Sunday Times

"Barrett simply outwrites many of his peers with a chilling confidence that suggests there is far more beneath the surface than merely the viciously effective black humour."--The Irish Times, Fiction of the Year

"A sustained and brilliant performance by a young writer of remarkable talent and confirmation that Colin is a writer of significance with something important to say... [It] is Colin's mastery of characterisation and his seemingly endless ability to surprise us with the poetry and linguistic inventiveness of his prose that elevates these stories into deftly crafted works of art that are a pleasure to read from start to finish."--Short Story Ireland

"Raw and affecting...Barrett's use of language is powerful and surprising...These stories are moving and memorable and show a writer who understands people, place and the effects of porter on the human psyche."--Irish Independent

"It isn't necessarily the job of fiction writers to explain our social landscape, but sometimes the best of them do. Colin Barrett's short, brutal collection of stories presents clearly and without sentimentality a picture of the young Irish small-town male, in his current crisis of hopelessness and alienation."--Irish Times

"Superbly observed ... Every sentence counts in these mesmerizing stories from an exciting literary author."--Irish Examiner

"Sharp, edgy, heartrendingly provocative. Colin Barrett is a distinctive, exciting new voice out of Ireland."--David Means

"Young Skins knocked me on my ass. It's moody, funny, vibrant and vivid. It's beautifully compressed and unafraid to take a bruising or lyrical leap. Colin Barrett has, as they say, talent to burn, but I really hope he doesn't waste a drop."--Sam Lipsyte

"Colin Barrett, like all great storytellers, has the ability to weave a broader chronicle of Ireland out of stories that remain intimate, powerful and regional. Out of the local, the universal appears. He defines the many shades of the present time and suggests a compelling future. He is a writer to savour and look out for."--Colum McCann

"Exciting and stylistically adventurous."--Colm Toibín

"Colin Barrett's sentences are lyrical and tough and smart, but there is something more here that makes him a really good writer. His stories are set in a familiar emotional landscape, but they give us endings that are new. What seems to be about sorrow and foreboding turns into an adventure, instead, in the tender art of the unexpected."--Anne Enright

"Language, structure, style - Colin Barrett has all the weapons at his disposal, and how, and he has an intuitive sense for what a short story is, and what it can do."--Kevin Barry

"How dare a debut writer be this good? Young Skins has all the hallmarks of an instant classic. Barrett's prose is exquisite but never rarefied. His characters - the damaged, the tender-hearted and the reckless - are driven by utterly human experiences of longing. His stories are a thump to the heart, a mainline surge to the core. His vision is sharp, his wit is sly, and the stories in this collection come alive with that ineffable thing - soul."--Alison MacLeod (judge of the 2014 Frank O'Connor Award)

"A writer of extraordinary gifts. I loved this compelling and utterly persuasive collection, the strongest debut I've read in some years."--Joseph O'Connor

"Incredible. Human violence, beauty, brilliance of language - this book reminds you of the massive things you can do in short fiction."--Evie Wyld

"A new fabulous and forensic voice to sing out Ireland's woes."--Bernard MacLaverty