From one of Ireland’s most grindingly authentic and radically original talents, Caldwell’s Room Little Darker explores the clandestine aspects of modern life through jagged, visceral tales of wanton sex, broken relationships, homelessness and futuristic nightmares.
Caldwell’s modernist style and tendency to switch forms never let the reader rest. Each of her stories announces itself with a bang. The outrageous ideas for the most part have a realistic undertone, grounding Room Little Darker in a world that is oddly, awfully, familiar.Sarah Gilmartin, The Irish Times
Caldwell’s modernist style and tendency to switch forms never let the reader rest. Each of her stories announces itself with a bang. The outrageous ideas for the most part have a realistic undertone, grounding Room Little Darker in a world that is oddly, awfully, familiar. An abusive father haunts his daughter and wife from the confines of a nursing home; a couple with an appetite for kink discover their escapades have led them into something unimaginably grim; an addict makes his way around a city centre crackling with menace; an unborn child narrates her own tragic story; a paedophile acquires a sex therapy robot and wonders how they’ll get along. At once hilarious and profoundly moving, June Caldwell’s stories probe raw sexuality and disturbing psychology, the love (and hate) of family, the darkness and light that lives inside us all.
“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.” Eimear McBride
The stories in David Hayden’s Darker With The Lights On are driven ceaselessly, hypnotically forward by a powerful 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 new and brilliant talent.
June Caldwell worked for many years as a journalist before writing fiction. Her story ‘SOMAT’ was published in the award-winning anthology The Long Gaze Back, edited by Sinéad Gleeson and was chosen as a ‘favourite’ by The Sunday Times. She is a prizewinner of the Moth International Short Story Prize and has been shortlisted for many others, including the Calvino Prize in Fabulist Fiction, the Colm Toíbín International Short Story Award, the Lorian Hemingway Prize, and the Sunday Business Post/Penguin Ireland Short Story Prize. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Queen’s University Belfast, and lives in Dublin.
David Hayden’s writing has appeared in gorse, The Yellow Nib, The Moth, The Stinging Fly, Spolia and The Warwick Review, and poetry in PN Review. He was shortlisted for the 25th RTÉ Francis MacManus Short Story prize. Born in Dublin, he has lived in the US and Australia and is now based in Norwich, UK, where he is currently working on a novel.