Posts Tagged ‘Colin Barrett’

‘Homesickness’ by Colin Barrett – Humorous and Eloquent Slices of Irish Life


‘Homesickness’, stories by Colin Barrett   (2022) – 213 pages


I wanted something a little lighter and less intense than my recent reading and I found it in the collection of stories ‘Homesickness’ by Colin Barrett. What stands out is the expressiveness of many of these stories’ sentences.

In the story “The Alps”, we have this description of the three Irish Alps brothers, Rory and Eustace and the youngest Bimbo:

The Alps were not men comfortably acquainted with the carnal, but they could become as fissured and rent with yearning as anyone.”

And here’s more on the Alps brothers:

The Alps still felt young in their souls but it was the bloodshot eyes, pouched necks and capitulating hairlines of middle age that leered back at them from mirrors. They ate too much takeaway, slept fitfully, downed vats of Guinness every weekend.”

In ‘The Silver Coast’, a woman, her mother, and her friends attend a funeral luncheon in January while her husband and son dispose of the Christmas tree.

Lydia Healy? Having a tumultuous affair? A woman who when you looked at her, made you think of terms like beetling and doughty, words that were archaic and obscure and cumbersome and probably didn’t mean what you thought they meant.”

But “the world is filled with unaccountable things if you’re keeping track”.

These stories are often told in a humorous vein, but several of them have a sad twist which is something I associate with Irish fiction in general.

One characteristic which all of the stories share is that they have open-ended endings. By this I mean that you get the sense that the real story continues after the written story ends. Life goes on. This is probably more realistic than to end a story with a more conclusive final ending. I like it.

‘Homesickness’ had for me that good effect when I am looking forward and anticipating what Colin Barrett would do with his next story. It was a pleasure to skip around from story to story.


Grade:   A



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