Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press


by Colin Barrett

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

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 224
  • Publication Date May 09, 2023
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6174-1
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $18.00
  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Page Count 224
  • Publication Date May 03, 2022
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-5964-9
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $27.00
  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Publication Date May 03, 2022
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-5965-6
  • US List Price $27.00

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.

Praise for Homesickness:

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.”—Guardian

“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

Homesickness is another finely crafted collection, again set largely on Barrett’s home turf of County Mayo, portrayed once more as a cauldron of alarming violence and simmering disappointment. Crisply told, fond of an eye-catching flourish… the stories draw energy from the rhythms of west of Ireland small talk, added to Barrett’s eye for striking detail… The scenarios are richly layered, with punchy payoffs.”—The Observer

“The eight sparkling, minimally plotted tales in [Barrett’s] latest… foreground humour, and their author’s uncanny ear for dialogue and Irish vernacular.”—Globe & Mail

“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

“Richly descriptive…This sharply observant collection resists pigeonholing its recalcitrant characters.”—Kirkus Reviews

“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

“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

“This is a mesmerizingly 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

“A masterworkby 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  

“These are addictive, stylish and violently funny stories, with riches on every page—an outstanding collection.”—Kevin Barry

“With a sharp eye for the absurd in the ordinary, Barrett’s stories impart gritty and touching realisations about life as it really is. Edgy, sharp and utterly original, Homesickness is an utterly compelling collection and Barrett is meticulous.”—Elaine Feeney

Homesickness presents us with a set of characters forever losing things: other people’s dogs, girlfriends, the will to live… Between the comedy, and the pure thrill of the language, there’s a lot of sorrow and mental illness here, but the afterglow of the stories, which settle and stay with you, is one of moving regard for the flaws and wants we battle, flee, and bargain with every day of our lives.”—Chris Power, author of The Mothers

Praise for Young Skins:

“[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.”—Guardian (UK)

“A stunning debut… The timeless nature of each story means this collection can – and will – be read many years from now.”―Sunday Times (UK)

“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.”―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