“Diamonds” is from Colin Barrett’s collection YOUNG SKINS (Grove Atlantic, 2015), first published in the UK in 2014 and now available to American readers. Barrett’s collection won several notable awards including the 2014 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, the Guardian First Book Award, and the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature.
The collection burst on the Irish and UK literary scene in 2014 with rave reviews in the Sunday Times and the Guardian, which called Barrett a singular voice in contemporary fiction.
The Sunday Times wrote: “A stunning debut . . . The timeless nature of each story means this collection can–and will–be read many years from now.”
The Guardian wrote: “Many fiction writers are attracted to non-existent but identifiable settings. Thomas Hardy created Wessex…and in Absalom, Absalom! William Faulkner literally mapped his Yoknapatawpha county….Colin Barrett confidently secures this same blend of familiarity and freedom with the first line of his debut short-story collection. ‘My town,’ the hungover Jimmy states, ‘is nowhere you have been, but you know its ilk.’”
The book’s dark comic wit is reminiscent of Wells Tower’s Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned and it has the power and originality of Claire Wakins’s Battleborn. Barrett’s six short stories and one novella occupy the ghostly, melancholic spaces between boyhood and old age. Told in Barrett’s vibrant, distinctive prose, YOUNG SKINS has been called an “accomplished and irreverent debut from a brilliant new writer.”