Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Wild Houses

by Colin Barrett

The riotous, raucous and deeply resonant debut novel from “one of the best story writers in the English language today” (Financial TimesWild Houses follows two outsiders caught in the crosshairs of a small-town revenge kidnapping gone awry

  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Page Count 272
  • Publication Date March 12, 2024
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6094-2
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $27.00
  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Publication Date March 19, 2024
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6095-9
  • US List Price $27.00

With his acclaimed and award-winning collections Young Skins and Homesickness Colin Barrett cemented his reputation as one of contemporary Irish literature’s most daring stylists. Praised by the Oprah Daily as “a doyen of the sentence,” and by the Los Angeles Times as a writer of “unique genius,” Barrett now expands his canvas with a debut novel that contains as much grit, plot, and linguistic energy as any of his celebrated short stories.

As Ballina prepares for its biggest weekend of the year, introspective loner Dev answers his door on Friday night to find Doll English— younger brother of small-time local dealer Cillian English—bruised and in the clutches of Gabe and Sketch Ferdia, County Mayo’s fraternal enforcers and Dev’s cousins. Dev’s quiet homelife is upturned as he is quickly and unwillingly drawn headlong into the Ferdias’ frenetic revenge plot against Cillian. Meanwhile, Doll’s girlfriend, seventeen-year-old Nicky, reeling from a fractious Friday and plagued by ghosts and tragedy of her own, sets out on a feverish mission to save Doll, even as she questions her future in Ballina.

Set against Barrett’s trademark depictions of small town Irish life, Wild Houses is thrillingly-told story of two outsiders striving to find themselves as their worlds collapse in chaos and violence.

Tags Literary

Praise for Wild Houses:

“This strange and beautiful novel brings to life an entire world. Wild Houses is a book not just to read but to live inside.”—Sally Rooney

“Vivid, controlled, very funny, and very moving –Barrett has the kind of pure writing chops that are vanishingly rare.”—Kevin Barry

“Colin Barrett quietly, insistently, writes so deeply into his characters you could reach out and touch them. Wild Houses is a gift of true storytelling and Barrett’s talent burns up the page.”—Anne Enright

“Vivid, controlled, very funny, and very moving – Barrett has the kind of pure writing chops that are vanishingly rare.”—Kevin Barry

“Wild Houses is swift, tender, and honest. It’s been a long time since I’ve been so worried, so heartbroken, so moved by a set of funny misfits. Barrett is one of our keenest observers of the miraculous amid the everyday and of the uncommon beauty of common things, the power of attention. When I finished this novel, I desperately wanted to call Dev, Doll, or Nicky, just to see if they were okay, to see if everything had turned out alright. A brilliant novel.”— Brandon Taylor

Wild Houses has a rare momentum that comes from the rhythms of the sentences, the vivid descriptions and the brilliantly chosen details. The momentum emerges also from the depth and complexity of the main characters and the wide sweep of the narrative. In a small town in the west of Ireland over a few days, a whole world, memorable and edgy, is captured for the reader.”—Colm Tóibín

“Vivid and wild, funny and chilling—Wild Houses is the business.”—Roddy Doyle

“Colin Barrett proved with his short stories that he’s not only one of the most stylistically gifted writers working now, but also one of the most generous. His first novel, Wild Houses, is deft, intricate, unique — restorative in its refusal to be anything but itself. He is a talent of the rarest kind.”—Nicole Flattery

Praise for Colin Barrett:

“[Barrett] 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

“Exact and poetic . . . One sign of [Barrett’s] striking maturity as a writer is that his characters stay in character . . . Mr. Barrett does foundational things exceedingly well—structure, choices of (and switches in) perspective—without drawing attention to them . . . His judgment is better than authoritative; it is imaginative and enlarging.”—New York Times

“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

“Barrett’s voice, though bolstered by Irish tradition, is entirely his own.”—New Yorker

“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 . . . Barrett is a doyen of the sentence; each snaps and sings like a bullwhip.”—Oprah Daily

“No matter how grim a given scene by Barrett can get, it’s a thrill to be alive to hear him.”—Paris Review

“Barrett proves that writing what you know can yield subversive and innovative results.”—Bustle

“Barrett simply out-writes 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

“Mesmerizingly powerful . . . I’ve learned so much from Colin Barrett’s work as a reader and writer.”—Sally Rooney

“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

“Language, structure, style — Colin Barrett has all the weapons at his disposal.”—Kevin Barry

“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.”—Brandon Taylor