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  • Published: 1 July 2021
  • ISBN: 9781473586628
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 240

Shine/Variance




A sharp and insightful debut short story collection about the pitfalls of ordinary life

"Great, beautiful little studies of unspoken fear and longing and love, told with a sure-footed delicacy rare in a debut" Sarah Moss, Irish Times

"An exciting, original, and very welcome new voice" Donal Ryan

"These are startling, adventurous and often wonderful stories. I loved this collection" Roddy Doyle

A sharp and insightful debut short story collection about the pitfalls of ordinary life

A wife yearns to escape the tight-fisted confines of a package holiday. A boy dreams of footballing greatness as his mother mourns a loss. A man tries to assemble an absent child's playhouse, with impossible instructions and too much beer. A woman seeks clarity from automated voices. A father is distracted from Christmas tree shopping with his son by the looming pressure of quarterly sales targets.

Shine/Variance captures the tiny crises and wonders of daily life with warmth, wit and decisive clarity. Ordinary people - commuters, call centre workers, children and parents - struggle for stability while craving more, and the schism between expectation and reality is only rarely bridged. Yet, amidst the faltering, recognition and bright moments of hope still illuminate their days.

Fresh, tender and darkly funny, these stories are a window into the longings, frustrations and painfully human connections of ordinary life from a remarkable new voice in fiction.

"The most powerful new collection I've read in some years" John Boyne

"Brilliantly bats, staggeringly compelling, and ferociously funny. Stephen Walsh rips the concreteness of reality straight from us and reflects back a more wobbly version of our turbulent lives... Completely unique" June Caldwell

"Full of assured originality and freshness - a new writer much to be welcomed" Bernard MacLaverty

  • Published: 1 July 2021
  • ISBN: 9781473586628
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 240

About the author

Stephen T. Walsh

Stephen Walsh lives in Dublin and works in IT. He only started writing seriously in 2018. Since then his stories have been shortlisted for the White Review Short Story Prize, RSL V.S. Pritchett Short Story Award and the RTE Francis MacManus Story Competition, and been published in The Stinging Fly.

Praise for Shine/Variance

Stephen Walsh writes of the complexities of family life with insight and humour. The most powerful new collection I've read in some years

John Boyne

Stephen Walsh writes of the complexities of family life with insight and humour. The most powerful new collection I've read in some years

John Boyne

An exciting, original, and very welcome new voice. Stephen Walsh draws unexpected beauty from the familiar, the tragic, the darkly comic situations any of us could find ourselves in, composing perfect little symphonies from the haphazard chords of existence. He is a witty, insightful and very skilled writer, and the voices in this collection sing from the page

Donal Ryan

An exciting, original, and very welcome new voice. Stephen Walsh draws unexpected beauty from the familiar, the tragic, the darkly comic situations any of us could find ourselves in, composing perfect little symphonies from the haphazard chords of existence. He is a witty, insightful and very skilled writer, and the voices in this collection sing from the page

Donal Ryan

A striking new talent in Irish literature. These stories vibrate with wry humour while always packing a serious emotional punch. Slyly revealing how we communicate today; how the language of modern technology, travel, lifestyle and ambition have infiltrated our deepest thoughts, Walsh illustrates that, in fact, little has changed in the human heart since James Joyce published Dubliners, which this collection brings to mind. Hugely entertaining, gripping and moving, Shine/Variance announces the arrival of a wonderful new voice for our times

Conor McPherson

A striking new talent in Irish literature. These stories vibrate with wry humour while always packing a serious emotional punch. Slyly revealing how we communicate today; how the language of modern technology, travel, lifestyle and ambition have infiltrated our deepest thoughts, Walsh illustrates that, in fact, little has changed in the human heart since James Joyce published Dubliners, which this collection brings to mind. Hugely entertaining, gripping and moving, Shine/Variance announces the arrival of a wonderful new voice for our times

Conor McPherson

Stephen Walsh's writing is at once original, sharp and funny. The richness of his insight and storytelling fits wonderfully into the breadth and depth of Irish writing today

Anne Griffin, author of When All Is Said

Stephen Walsh's writing is at once original, sharp and funny. The richness of his insight and storytelling fits wonderfully into the breadth and depth of Irish writing today

Anne Griffin, author of When All Is Said

This collection depicts with caustic wit and insight the undersides of Irish domesticity: the quiet angers and atrophying dissatisfactions. Flaunting an enviable dexterity in both voice and style, Shine/Variance is an addictive collection, rich in moments that linger in your consciousness

Susannah Dickey, author of Tennis Lessons

This collection depicts with caustic wit and insight the undersides of Irish domesticity: the quiet angers and atrophying dissatisfactions. Flaunting an enviable dexterity in both voice and style, Shine/Variance is an addictive collection, rich in moments that linger in your consciousness

Susannah Dickey, author of Tennis Lessons

Stephen Walsh's stories are often playful, sometimes twisted, in form and tone, but the dexterity on display allows for deep, subtle and profoundly moving explorations of modern life

Tim Finch, author of Peace Talks

Stephen Walsh's stories are often playful, sometimes twisted, in form and tone, but the dexterity on display allows for deep, subtle and profoundly moving explorations of modern life

Tim Finch, author of Peace Talks

These stories are brilliantly bats, staggeringly compelling and ferociously funny. Stephen Walsh rips the concreteness of reality straight from us and reflects back a more wobbly version of our turbulent lives. Characters are lost, lonely, restless, confused, but always gagging to roll out the very best of havoc humanity can offer. Voice, style and structure are completely unique. If someone shoved George Saunders into a giant kaleidoscope, along with a few episodes of Black Mirror, popping candy and a mescal worm, and gave it a good twist they'd get Shine/Variance

June Caldwell

These stories are brilliantly bats, staggeringly compelling and ferociously funny. Stephen Walsh rips the concreteness of reality straight from us and reflects back a more wobbly version of our turbulent lives. Characters are lost, lonely, restless, confused, but always gagging to roll out the very best of havoc humanity can offer. Voice, style and structure are completely unique. If someone shoved George Saunders into a giant kaleidoscope, along with a few episodes of Black Mirror, popping candy and a mescal worm, and gave it a good twist they'd get Shine/Variance

June Caldwell

These are startling, adventurous and often wonderful stories. I loved this collection

Roddy Doyle

These are startling, adventurous and often wonderful stories. I loved this collection

Roddy Doyle

Stephen Walsh's first collection is full of assured originality and freshness - a new writer much to be welcomed

Bernard MacLaverty

Stephen Walsh's first collection is full of assured originality and freshness - a new writer much to be welcomed

Bernard MacLaverty

Inventive, dazzling, devastating and laugh out loud funny, the stories in Shine/Variance are all this and more. It's exhilarating to read such remarkable writing. An astonishingly good debut from a writer who clearly finds joy in language

Danielle McLaughlin, author of The Art of Falling

Inventive, dazzling, devastating and laugh out loud funny, the stories in Shine/Variance are all this and more. It's exhilarating to read such remarkable writing. An astonishingly good debut from a writer who clearly finds joy in language

Danielle McLaughlin, author of The Art of Falling

This is a brilliant collection; formally audacious, darkly funny, utterly unique. Stephen Walsh's characters are so terrifyingly authentic I read through slotted fingers, mortified for them, and several times he had me on my feet. I loved this book

Louise Kennedy

This is a brilliant collection; formally audacious, darkly funny, utterly unique. Stephen Walsh's characters are so terrifyingly authentic I read through slotted fingers, mortified for them, and several times he had me on my feet. I loved this book

Louise Kennedy

Great, beautiful little studies of unspoken fear and longing and love, told with a sure-footed delicacy rare in a debut. Walsh is playful and often funny... Walsh's voices are small but strong, his triumphs and tragedies no less haunting for their intimate scale

Sarah Moss, Irish Times

Great, beautiful little studies of unspoken fear and longing and love, told with a sure-footed delicacy rare in a debut. Walsh is playful and often funny... Walsh's voices are small but strong, his triumphs and tragedies no less haunting for their intimate scale

Sarah Moss, Irish Times

Immensely readable... the collection's sharpness, poetics and wit make for an immensely pleasurable read... [Walsh] looks to be a writer of great promise

Niamh Donnelly, Irish Independent

Immensely readable... the collection's sharpness, poetics and wit make for an immensely pleasurable read... [Walsh] looks to be a writer of great promise

Niamh Donnelly, Irish Independent

Heartbreakingly real characters dealing with everyday hurts and misunderstandings

Orna Mulcahy, The Gloss

Heartbreakingly real characters dealing with everyday hurts and misunderstandings

Orna Mulcahy, The Gloss

Hugely original... I loved these zany, thought provoking stories and felt empathy with most of the protagonists

Sue Leonard, Irish Examiner

Hugely original... I loved these zany, thought provoking stories and felt empathy with most of the protagonists

Sue Leonard, Irish Examiner

Each of the stories packs a particular emotional punch but this is punctuated by humour... Shine/Variance is a hugely accomplished debut from a writer who sees beauty, struggle, and redemption in the everyday

Paul Ring, Irish Examiner

Each of the stories packs a particular emotional punch but this is punctuated by humour... Shine/Variance is a hugely accomplished debut from a writer who sees beauty, struggle, and redemption in the everyday

Paul Ring, Irish Examiner

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