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The first collection of stories from a Booker Prize shortlisted author.

Michael Collins’s stories are about Ireland, about the Irish as they are and as they would like to be imagined. In the title story we see the fatal consequences of self-deception. Posing as a nationalist hero, a young man travels to America with a suitcase full of meat. The warm welcome he expects swiftly dematerialises as he awakes to the grim realities of life in hiding.

The vivid, surreal splendour of the writing allied with images of real people – the struggling widow, the careless father, the schoolboy and the philosopher, the good and the corrupt – make this an outstanding collection.


Reading Collins' stories . . . is like being mugged in a savage land
A collection of colourful, surreal and vividly characterized stories already prompting comparison to Joyce and Beckett
Collins is undoubtedly an exciting talent, capable of writing razor-sharp prose and he has produced a gripping, stylish novel that deserves to be read
Collins is a considerable stylist . . . his prose has a thoughtful, sinewy quality, a kind of subliminal toughness of mind
A style so arrestingly visual it hijacks the reader's concentration; dazzling with the energy and originality of the language
[Collins] is a stylist, blessed with the gift of having something worth saying
One of the most exciting talents to have emerged not only in Ireland but anywhere in recent decades
Susan Hill, THE TIMES