Pure Gold

John Patrick McHugh

‘One of the most exciting writers working in Ireland today’ Sally Rooney
‘Dark, funny, honest and engrossing’ Roddy Doyle
‘Refreshing and ambitious’ Lisa McInerny
‘Full of stylish brio’ Colin Barrett

Pure Gold heralds the arrival of a vibrant new literary voice

You had to scrap for love.

In this stunning debut story collection exploring betrayal and longing on an imagined island off the west coast of Ireland, John Patrick McHugh takes us deep into a community of individuals who are lost, yearning, and self-deceiving. We see two boys set fires while their worlds fall apart, follow a couple driving out to the hills in a last-ditch effort to save their marriage, watch a widow seek a stranger’s help to bury her grief, see a horse crash a house party. Whether falling in love or turning on one another the residents here are united by a quest for connection in the treacherous waters of small-town boredom.

In stories that are bitterly funny, profoundly moving and crackling with wild energy, McHugh casts a compassionate eye on masculinity, violence, and class, and embeds us in the fragile moments on which a life can twist and turn.

Reviews of Pure Gold

    • ‘This astonishing collection of stories draws the reader into a world at once familiar and deliciously strange …With an unflinching eye for injustice, cruelty and self-deceit, McHugh nonetheless approaches his cast of characters with a sincere and intelligent compassion. These stories bring to life not only the individual lives of human people, but the collective life of a whole community. In exquisite and arresting prose, this collection makes it clear that John Patrick McHugh is one of the most exciting writers working in Ireland today’ Sally Rooney, author of Normal People
    • ‘ This is a remarkable, rare and truly brilliant collection which will no doubt capture and convert those readers like myself who seldom reach for short stories’ Megan Nolan, author of Acts of Desperation
    • ‘McHugh’s stories are monoliths that glitter with piercing detail, sunlit with godlike purpose and control’ Gavin Corbett, author of Green Glowing Skull
    • ‘This collection is refreshing and ambitious, its stories full of heart and balls and mischief’ Lisa McInerny, author of The Blood Miracles
    • ‘McHugh’s stories are full of stylish brio, headlong with energy, and pulse with real feeling and depth. He is a young writer forging a fresh and intense new path through the landscape of Irish letters’ Colin Barrett, author of Young Skins
    • ‘This is a terrific collection. The stories are dark, funny, honest and engrossing’ Roddy Doyle, author of Love
    • ‘These are sharp, savage, feral stories. Pure Gold is utterly engrossing and unafraid. From the broken world of masculinity and prejudice, John Patrick McHugh has wrought a precious, beautiful alchemy.’ Sean Hewitt, author of Tongues of Fire
    • ‘Emotionally intelligent and savagely funny … Pure Gold is a striking literary debut’ Nicole Flattery, author of Show Them A Good Time