The End of the World is a Cul de Sac
‘A dazzling, heartbreaking debut collection’ Guardian
‘Kennedy’s voice, and her unforgiving gaze, are electric’ Sunday Times
‘These stories sing, haunt and inspire laughter … One of the best collections I’ve read in years’ Sinead Gleeson
A SUNDAY TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR
The secrets people kept, the lies they told.
In these visceral, stunningly crafted stories, people are effortlessly cruel to one another, and the natural world is a primitive salve. Here, women are domestically trapped by predatorial men, Ireland’s folklore and politics loom large, and poverty – material, emotional, sexual – seeps through every crack.
A wife is abandoned by her new husband in a ghost estate, with blood on her hands; a young woman is tormented by visions of the man murdered by her brother during the Troubles; a pregnant mother fears the worst as her husband grows illegal cannabis with the help of a vulnerable teenage girl; a woman struggles to forgive herself after an abortion threatens to destroy her marriage.
Announcing a major new voice in literary fiction for the twenty-first century, these sharp shocks of stories offer flashes of beauty, and even humour, amidst the harshest of truths.
[A] dazzling, heartbreaking debut collection . . .With their sensitivity to people's vulnerabilities and failings, and their sharpness of imagery, these fifteen taut tales recall Annie Proulx at her best: salty, wise, droll and keen to share the lessons of a lifetime * Guardian * Gritty, bitter, hard-won, the fifteen stories in this first collection feel a world away from the seeming solipsism of the younger generation of female Irish writers who are conquering the literary world ... Kennedy's voice, and her unforgiving gaze, are electric * Sunday Times * To carve such gilded stories as these from such fathomless gorges of despair would be an accomplishment for an old master, let alone for a relative newbie. Yet Kennedy's spritz of humour, as black as the holes these women are in, elevates her stories from downbeat to transcendent . . . [A] marvellous collection * Independent * Like fifteen novels squeezed between two covers, ready to blow your mind. The only other writer I can think of who packs this much moving, terrible life into each story is Alice Munro -- Emma Donoghue I am haunted by these unforgettable short stories and believed every single line of every one of them. Louise Kennedy is a very major talent -- Joseph O'Connor * Irish Times * [A] dark, funny, brilliantly downbeat Irish debut. Bitterness, beauty and a caustic wit colour Kennedy's stories, as the past makes itself unforgettably present in the lives of her vividly drawn characters * Daily Mail * Masterful . . . [Kennedy] can make you laugh and wince all at once . . . A writer very much in control of her craft * Irish Independent * I love Kennedy's vividly conjured reality. Her prose is so alive, I am surprised that the book stays shut when you close it. These stories breathe, talk, kick-up: they have a pulse -- Anne Enright Darkly funny, beautifully crafted, intense - this is an outstanding first collection from a natural story writer -- Kevin Barry These stories are devastating, deadly funny, hauntingly recognisable, wise, brutal, lucent and gloriously refreshing. Kennedy has brought an army of complex, contradictory, haywire women into Irish literature. Prepare to be wrecked. -- Caoilinn Hughes Louise Kennedy is a wonderful writer: her characterization is compelling, her style a stimulating mix of the plainspoken and luminous, and her sense of place assured. In The End of the World is a Cul-De-Sac, she has produced a remarkable collection of short stories. -- Nick Laird What a collection of stories! One of the best I've ever read: funny and searing and true -- Sarah Crossan Louise Kennedy's collection will stop you in your tracks . . . Profound, beautiful and essential -- Liz Nugent A hugely impressive and memorable collection. I adored these downbeat, stirring, disconcerting, punchy, touching, believable short stories, so skilfully and beautifully executed -- Joseph O'Connor
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