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Darker With the Lights On
Categories: 21st Century, Irish
Imprint: Little Island Press
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Hardback (208 pages)
(Pub. Sep 2017)
An Irish Times Book of the Year 2017
A Verso Book of the Year 2017
Driven ceaselessly, hypnotically forward by a powerful, deeply felt narrative force, the stories in this debut collection pull off that rare trick of captivating the reader, while twisting the form into truly new shapes. Comprising compelling stories made memorable by an imagist’s flair for photographic observation and unsettling, often startling, emotional landscapes, Darker With the Lights On introduces a mesmeric new literary talent with seismic potential.
Awards won by David Hayden Short-listed, 2018 The Republic of Consciousness Prize for the Best Small Press Book of the Year (Darker With the Lights On) Short-listed, 2018 The Collyer Bristow Prize (Darker With the Lights On) Long-listed, 2017 The Edge Hill Prize for the Best Short Story Collection (Darker With the Lights On)
'Hallucinogenic, unnerving, poetic, daring, majestic and, above all, highly original'
Matthew Janney, The Culture Trip 'a daring abdication of much convention that survives in 'experimental' fiction... There are images in Darker With the Lights On that vex the mind and will not go away'
Brian Dillon, The White Review 'Hayden's raw surrealism can muster an unexpected emotional gut-punch. There are forceful explosions of imagist prose.'
Richard Smyth, New Statesman 'Hayden's Darker with the Lights On offers the greatest aesthetic rewards, while taking the most risks. With a poet's transformative eye, Hayden steers us through a series of dreamscapes of Tarkovskyan density and strangeness.'
Jude Cook, The Spectator 'Darker with the Lights On is fizzing with restless energy and dazzling, ludic virtuosity'
Houman Barekat, The Irish Times 'One of the most startlingly brilliant and original debuts I've ever read. Hayden is one hell of a talent'
David Collard, Literary Review 'an extraordinary book of stories that draws on the legacy of Samuel Beckett and recalls the best of George Saunders.'
Il Mattino 'Fairy tales that speak of violence and the transports of memory, of losses and obsessions, where the laws of nature are reversed as in the title [...] Hayden has extracted, one by one, the nightmares, desires and myths that we keep hidden and that make us who we are.'
Vanity Fair, Italy 'Once in a blue moon, a book comes along that really is like nothing you've ever read before. The 20 stories in this debut collection from David Hayden are strange, uncomfortable fables of memory, metamorphosis, time, disassociation and death: hard to fathom, but impossible to ignore; twisty and riddling, yet with a blunt impact that reverberates long after the final page.'
Justine Jordan, The Guardian 'Hayden's hypnotic combination of oneiric situations with pinpoint language conjures Calvino or Barthleme. His stories are airborne elephants: their lightness of touch belies their emotional weight.'
Joanna Walsh 'This is writing where every sentence is it's own little wonder, where rhythm and sound are elevated to their own kind of meaning. The reason I say this collection is vital is because it reads like an intervention. Hayden is working with language - reshaping it, chafing against it, exposing all its beauty and evil. If you have even the slightest interest in literature and what it can do and where it might be heading, you need this book. If you don't, you also need this book.'
Sam Byers 'David Hayden's stories are equalled in invention by their lyrical depth and stunning concision. Sentences sing, startle and ask to be reread immediately. An extraordinary debut that will find readers keen to read more from this gifted writer.'
Sinéad Gleeson 'Here are stories to read again and again. Here is language to live in. David Hayden is a serious force.'
Sam Lipsyte 'Quietly innovative, subtle of tone, full of feeling - this is a superb debut'
Kevin Barry 'I'm a huge fan of this book ... deep, uncanny, witty, troubling, sensuous and perspicacious modernist literature'
Max Porter 'Surreal, unsettling, beautifully written, woven through with dark humor.'
Elizabeth McCracken 'I admire how David Hayden's stories transform the world around me. They provide altered consciousness of a very refined kind.'
Wendy Erskine 'In his hands writing is a magical operation. Mere literary tricks are dismembered, thrown a charred bone, decomposed. Make no mistake however, there is craft here and lots of it; the atavistic craft of a patient and fearless necromancer. Handle this book with care, goodness knows where its visions end.'
Claire-Louise Bennett 'It's an open secret that David Hayden is one of the most interesting short story writers around. Why it's taken this long for his first collection to be published is beyond me but I, along with anyone with even the vaguest interest in looking at modernism anew, will be queuing up for a copy.'
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