Hugging Thistles by Aideen Henry. Arlen House, 2013


Hugging Thistles is an apt title for this collection of stories: with a hidden dignity and quiet resignation, Aideen Henry’s lonely, lovelorn and sometimes dysfunctional characters cling to the thorny vine of life in the forlorn hope of finding that delicate thing called happiness … a great achievement by a rare and unique talent.

– Billy Roche


Aideen Henry writes with jagged rhythms, full of minute and wonderful surprises. Her prose is always a powerful and gripping track to the heart of the matter. In the world of the Irish short story her voice is both exciting and refreshing.

– Michael Harding


These stories, sharp and pitiless but beautifully made, lay bare the world as it is. They are a disquieting but chastening read.

– Carlo Gébler


A boy loses his mother to a goat. Someone always knows about the local molester. It’s part of the flock memory. A woman visits the bail bond office to whisper her worst nightmare and run away. A man cuts off his own penis to escape toxic sensory experiences. A young mother’s life is ruled by her unreachable sadness.


The stories in Hugging Thistles deal with the interior worlds of intense, multi-layered characters. They struggle with matters that are often unspeakable, and the powerful paradoxical emotions that emerge control their lives.


Hugging Thistles marks Aideen Henry’s stunning short fiction debut.


About the Author:  Aideen Henry writes short fiction, drama and poetry. Her short stories, ‘Saibh’ and ‘Idling’, were shortlisted for the Francis MacManus Award in 2011 and 2012. ‘Idling’ was published in The Dublin Review in 2012. She has contributed short stories to three published collections of the Atlantis Collective. Her three one-act plays were staged at NUI, Galway and the Galway Theatre Festival. Her debut poetry collection, Hands Moving at the Speed of Falling Snow, was published by Salmon Poetry in 2010 and that year she was shortlisted for the Emerging Poetry Section of the Hennessy Literary Awards. 

Condition: New paperback.



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