Old Swords


Hogan’s linguistic resourcefulness is unique to Irish letters, and each new gathering enlarges upon his reputation as one of Ireland’s most fearless and invigorating writers, who, in the words of film-maker Neil Jordan, “remakes the world every time he puts pen to paper‘”

These eleven stories by Desmond Hogan, his first publication since Larks’ Eggs: New and Selected Stories (2005), collect newly minted shards of experience focused on the lives of the dreamers and marginalized who populate his imagined worlds. They range in time and place from France, Germany and Italy in the nineteenth century to Ireland of the 1950s and the present day. Their concerns are fragility and identity expressed through the outer semblances of dress and deportment, and inner realities of involuntary memory and the retrieval of shared pasts. Close observation of nature combines with psychological unveilings, much of it in the form of erotic reverie. This bricolage of melded history and a fragmented modernism renders truth-to-experience like no other contemporary voice.

“In an age of sound bite and cliche, Hogan sets the standard both in his use of language and his intensely individual vision. He demonstrates that, at its artistic best, the short story is as rich and demanding as poetry.” –The Irish Times

“Hogan paints his picture with such tiny brushstrokes that the impression is not a narrative but a history, open-ended and amorphous, subject to change, but not boiled down into plot, character, beginning and end.” –Times Literary Supplement



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Weight 0.5 kg

October 2009


220 x 140mm, 140pp