New Island Books - 25 Years a-Growing


  • Hostages by Oisín Fagan


'It’s uproarious, confusing, maddening, and confirms the 25-year-old as the most exciting young writer in the country.' - Irish Examiner

'Oisín Fagan announces himself as the best new young writer in Ireland with this ceaselessly audacious, wildly inventive collection of stories. Darkly funny, dazzlingly smart, and ablaze with love and ferocity, the stories in Hostages dynamite the boundaries of the contemporary Irish short story and sets a new challenge to those working in the form.  Several of these stories are, to invoke the modern oxymoron, instant classics'  - Colin Barrett

And so I find myself staggering on the streets of Trim again as a thirty-three-year-old man infuriated by a history that is a joke I am trying to stop laughing at and bemoaning a future that I didn’t bother creating, knowing that all the dead peasants who precede me aren’t allotted a word a corpse, and that if the dead could speak they would be screaming. My heart is broken and my failure is total.

A bomb is born, lives and dies in a rural secondary school; Ireland becomes a dumping ground for corpses; one family’s genealogy begins in tragedy in 1574 and ends in something far worse in 2111; a strange tribal matriarchy on the banks of the River Boyne is threatened with extermination.

Over the course of these stories, the world breaks down in an endless cycle of hunger, desperation, violence and domination, and we find a humanity left tender, collapsed, and full of a beautiful, primeval innocence.

Fagan’s raw blend of verve, humour, imagination and warmth surges through these pages, revealing a world rendered both hopeful and disturbing, human and other, that is at once familiar and extraordinary.


‘Oisín Fagan’s Hostages is a book I’ll never forget. Think Flann O’Brien on rocket fuel. It’s funny, disconcerting, weird, shocking, a jaw-dropping flashmob of brilliantly written characters dressed as a full-scale riot.’ – Joseph O’Connor, The Irish Times

‘Oisin Fagan’s anarchic book Hostages set fire to little fuses that, months later, are still fizzing in my head.’ – Laurence Mackin, The Irish Times

‘An engaging short story debut…In Fagan’s surreal worlds the logic of the absurd reigns. Love and violence, birth and death, evolution and extinction – each of the stories is, in its own way, a call to arms by the author to take note of what passes over us as news each day…Fagan’s work holds its own against his contemporaries.’ – The Irish Times 

‘Literary magazine The Stinging Fly has certainly become the greenhouse for nurturing original Irish writing talent – and Oisín Fagan is another golden alumni. Fagan plays with the shape of the story in his new collection Hostages….There is certainly originality here …and unexpectedly gentle lines, delicate enough in emotion to surprise you and confirm that Fagan has range and capability…Fagan’s stories are visceral in both description and in act.’ – Irish Independent

‘Oisin Fagan will become one of the most influential voices coming out of Ireland… a raw, crazy, genre bending author’ – Storgy Magazine

Oisín Fagan is a writer and activist. He does work with the Irish Housing Network, and spends much of his time outside his job as a language teacher campaigning on social issues.  He has previously been published in The Stinging Fly, New Planet Cabaret and Young Irelanders and his work has featured at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Earlier this year he won the inaugural Penny Dreadful Novella Prize for The HierophantsHostages is his first collection.


Oisín Fagan


C-Format Paperback





Release Date

September 2016


Additional Information

Weight .400 g
Dimensions .215 x .135 x .15 mm


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SKU: 9781848405141 - Need Help? Contact Us Leave Feedback

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