Shortlisted for the 2014 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award Longlisted for the 2014 Guardian First Book Award
This magnificent collection takes us to Glanbeigh, a small town in rural Ireland – a town in which the youth have the run of the place. Boy racers speed down the back lanes; couples haunt the midnight woods; young skins huddle in the cold once The Peacock has closed its doors. Here the young live hard and wear the scars. It matters whose sister you were seen with. If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, it matters a very great deal.
Colin Barrett’s debut does not take us to Glanbeigh alone; there are other towns, and older characters. But each story is defined by a youth lived in a crucible of menace and desire – and each crackles with the uniform energy and force that distinguish this terrific collection.
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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
Colin Barrett is a young man in the town of the short story, but it’s fair to say he has the run of the place. This is a joyously fine collection, crackling with energy and verve, fit for the back pocket of anyone who loves a good story well told. - Jon McGregor
Magnificent...A stunning debut... The timeless nature of each story means this collection can - and will - be read many years from now. - Sunday Times (Ireland)
Incredible… Human violence, beauty, brilliance of language – this book reminds you of the massive things you can do in short fiction. - Evie Wyld
Exciting and stylistically adventurous. - Irish Times
Should you be surprised that yet another superbly articulate and word-drunk writer has come out of Ireland? Perhaps not; but when that writer's work is as moving, as funny, as spectacularly evocative as Young Skins, you should be astonished, and amazed, and grateful. Some of the stories in this debut collection are amongst the best in the language. That a young writer possesses a talent this great is a cause for celebration, matched only by his ability to control and harness it. A minute after finishing this book I was itching to read Colin Barrett's next. - Niall Griffiths
A new fabulous and forensic voice to sing out Ireland’s woes. - Bernard MacLaverty
Colin Barrett is 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
[Barrett's] stories invite second readings that – the mark of really good work – seem to uncover sentences that weren't there the first time around... Throughout this extraordinary debut, but particularly in the excellent stories that bookend it, Colin Barrett is asking the right questions. - Guardian
The best collection we’ll read all year: a massive new talent, and stories that will make you yearn and nod and cry. - Bookmunch
An exciting debut... Electric. - Sunday Times
Barrett excels at scenarios rich in moral and emotional complications and his finely wrought sentences crunch and snap with hard-bitten lyricism. - Metro
Freakishly good... Barrett’s astonishingly mature stories windmill with violent abandon into our time. - Dazed Digital
How dare a debut writer be this good? Young Skins has all the hallmarks of an instant classic… His vision is sharp, his wit is sly, and the stories in this collection come alive with that ineffable thing – soul. - Alison MacLeod
Colin Barrett was born in 1982 and grew up in County Mayo. In 2009 he was awarded the Penguin Ireland Prize. His work has been published in The Stinging Fly magazine and in the anthologies, Sharp Sticks, Driven Nails (Stinging Fly Press, 2010) and Town and Country (Faber and Faber, 2013). This is his first book.