"ABOVE WAS streaked blue, so divinely blue you’d believe in angels, so bright you couldn’t glance at it and not shudder...and amongst this hazy backdrop, I could hear the distant shearing of every make of lawn on the Island."
These lines are from Pure Gold, the debut collection of short stories from Galway writer, John Patrick McHugh, and published this week by Little Island Press.
Set on a fictional island community off the coast of County Mayo, at once familiar and strange, these stories dwell on injustice, cruelty, deception, and self-deceit. Two boys set fires while their worlds fall apart. A couple drives out to the hills in a last- ditch effort to save their marriage. A horse crashes a house party.
'Exquisite and arresting prose'
"McHugh approaches his cast of characters with a sincere and intelligent compassion," said Normal People author, Sally Rooney. "These stories bring to life, not only the individual lives of human people, but the collective life of a whole community. In exquisite and arresting prose, this collection makes it clear that John Patrick McHugh is one of the most exciting writers working in Ireland today."
The collection has also been praised by short story writer Colin Barrett: "McHugh's stories are full of stylish brio, headlong with energy, and pulse with real feeling and depth. He is a young writer forging a fresh and intense new path through the landscape of Irish letters."
McHugh is from Barna he was the Recipient of the 2015 Maeve Binchy Travel Award and was also awarded the Corsair Bursary at the University of East Anglia to take the MA in creative writing.
Pure Gold is available for €12.95 via www.newisland.ie