Hearts and Bones is a book about relationships. It explores what love does to us, and how we survive it.
A young woman learns to wield her power, leaving casualties in her wake, while a man from a small town finds solace in a strange new hobby. A watchful child feels a breaking point approach as her mother struggles to keep her life on track, and another daughter steps onto a stage while her family in the audience hope that she is strong enough now to take on the world.
First-time lovers make mistakes, brothers and sisters try to forgive one another, and parents struggle and fail and struggle again. Teenage souls are swayed by euphoric faith in a higher power and then by devotion to desire, trapped between different notions of what might be true. Quiet revolutions happen in living rooms, on river banks, in packed pubs and empty churches, and years later we wonder why we ever did the things we did.
Set between Ireland and London in the first two decades of this millennium, the stories in Hearts and Bones, Niamh Mulvey’s debut collection, look at the changes that have torn through these times and ask who we are now that we’ve brought the old gods down. Witty, sharply observed and deeply moving, these ten stories announce an extraordinary new Irish literary talent.
These stories are vivid, memorable and beautifully crafted. I was delighted to discover Niamh Mulvey’s work.
- Sarah Moss
A brilliant collection, from a remarkable talent. These powerful stories come to us zinging with truth and wit, with pain and insight and joy.
- Joseph O'Connor
A hugely impressive debut that pivots on tiny moments rendered large, with such skill. Panoramic, precise, written in controlled, stunning prose.
- Sinéad Gleeson
Honest, daringly fresh and stunningly written, these stories cut right to the very essence of what it means to be young.
- Jan Carson
Mulvey's precision, humour and economy are a kind of close up magic, albeit one that kicks you in the heart. Monolithic themes brought to a shimmering, livid clarity. Exceptional.
- Rhik Samadder
Niamh Mulvey's stories are compassionate yet unflinchingly honest. She is a remarkable new talent with a distinctive voice and viewpoint. I can't wait to read more of her work.
- Jane Casey
Using crisp prose and, it seems, almost total recall, Niamh Mulvey's stories chronicle a changing Ireland. Hearts and Bones is a terrific debut collection from a writer full of promise.
- Sinéad Crowley