“Great, beautiful little studies of unspoken fear and longing and love, told with a sure-footed delicacy rare in a debut” Sarah Moss, Irish Times
“An exciting, original, and very welcome new voice” Donal Ryan
“These are startling, adventurous and often wonderful stories. I loved this collection” Roddy Doyle
A sharp and insightful debut short story collection about the pitfalls of ordinary life
A wife yearns to escape the tight-fisted confines of a package holiday. A boy dreams of footballing greatness as his mother mourns a loss. A man tries to assemble an absent child’s playhouse, with impossible instructions and too much beer. A woman seeks clarity from automated voices. A father is distracted from Christmas tree shopping with his son by the looming pressure of quarterly sales targets.
Shine/Variance captures the tiny crises and wonders of daily life with warmth, wit and decisive clarity. Ordinary people – commuters, call centre workers, children and parents – struggle for stability while craving more, and the schism between expectation and reality is only rarely bridged. Yet, amidst the faltering, recognition and bright moments of hope still illuminate their days.
Fresh, tender and darkly funny, these stories are a window into the longings, frustrations and painfully human connections of ordinary life from a remarkable new voice in fiction.
“The most powerful new collection I’ve read in some years” John Boyne
“Brilliantly bats, staggeringly compelling, and ferociously funny. Stephen Walsh rips the concreteness of reality straight from us and reflects back a more wobbly version of our turbulent lives… Completely unique” June Caldwell
“Full of assured originality and freshness – a new writer much to be welcomed” Bernard MacLaverty