Contributors: Chloe Steele, Jonny Walsh
Cover Design: Steven Cherry
Typesetting: Christian Brett
Printing: Offset Litho
Published: Dec 2014
The Myth of Brilliant Summers is a work of suspicion and delicate menace. Spanning decades of educational and state abuse, these interlinked stories/modern day parables about outsiders and dreamers follow in the cult tradition of Junky and Post Office.
Austin Collings previously co-wrote Renegade: The Lives & Tales of Mark E. Smith.
“With a ruthless rush of witty adroit prose Collings whisks us in his series of short stories through the madness of human eccentricity. Not for the faint hearted, the light hearted or even the young at heart—in fact it’s better if you don’t have a heart at all.”
Author of The Grass Arena
“Collings describes beautifully the threatening allure of underground walkways, adolescent love on rusting park swings, motiveless murders and the gangs of squaddies patrolling northern town centres, looking for recruits.”
The New Statesman
"The English is pure steel, even if the message is unremittingly bleak."
“The Myth Of Brilliant Summers is the work of a powerful writer who insists on taking risks with language and structure. Austin Collings writes prose that is compressed, angled, droll, sure, but also evocative and swooping when he wants it to be. These stories are so tight they have an elegance of form that somehow does not jar against the rough, darkling content.”
Author of Winter’s Bone and Tomato Red
“A stream of haunting images, familiar but not tired, illuminate powerful descriptions of noble ordinariness. Collings has a mastery of his language, relationships and environment. Authenticity ripples through every sentence. The working class have a new literary hero.”
Chief sports writer, The Observer and The Guardian
“This impressive collection is a breath of fetid air. Collings’ characters seem to come of age and then carry on careening through a world gone horribly wrong. Their summers may not have been brilliant but his prose certainly is: staccato bursts infused with energy, punches to the gut of society’s artifice, low, low blows. Austin knows where the bodies are buried. And now so do you.”
Larry 'Ratso' Sloman
Co-author of Mike Tyson’s Undisputed Truth and Scar Tissue
“I read The Myth of Brilliant Summers to and from a visit to a dying friend. Here was some hope – a manual for survival; know the truth, do not look away. Disobey. Collings is no Hollywood Pinnochio – nose to the grindstone, he impales all the lies they tell, all the lies they sell. He doesn’t do pretty. It is life as lived, as survived; all the farts and gripes and failings. And there amid the sweat and grime there is some hard won love. Austin Collings is a true son of the North—where they do what they want.”
Screenwriter, Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas and Red Riding
“Forget bogus pessimism, this is real pessimism like mother used to make. Austin Collings says ‘no’ in a thousand inventive ways. Good on him.”
Novelist and creator of Rab C. Nesbitt
"A lovely looking volume. 'Tommy V (Crimes against Nature)', I really liked the tone of—reminded me of Joyce’s ‘An Encounter’."
Author of The Treatment
“Austin Collings writes some of the best new stories I’ve read in ages. Cutting to the very heart of what matters, his terse prose forces us to take a good hard look at the world about us and at ourselves. This is frontline reporting from Britain’s city streets. Truly powerful and uncompromising. Collings is a major new talent that deserves to be read and celebrated. A very fine collection.”
Scottish Poet Laureate (2008-2014)
and author of The Sound Of My Voice