Irish Girl


“Here are eight eerily beautiful stories about people moving through mixed-up, grief-soaked lives. This is terrific story-telling: stark, efficient, devastating.”

— Anthony Doerr, author of All The Light We Cannot See

“It’s dark in here, but brilliant.  Tim Johnston is as wise as he is original, and his stories are impossible to forget.”  — David Sedaris, author of Naked and Calypso

“You have to read closely so as not to miss significant clues in these tightly coiled stories by Katherine Anne Porter Prize–winner Johnston (Never So Green), who ventures deeply into the consciousness of Midwesterners to unearth old tensions and buried animosities. These beautifully rendered tales deliver an emotional wallop.”  Publishers Weekly [PDF]

“I tore through this excellent collection. Irish Girl carries a sinister tension and gobs of chilling scenes. All of it balanced by Johnston’s hardscrabble poetry. These stories are deeply disturbing and genuinely beautiful.”  — Victor LaValle, author of Big Machine

“Tim Johnston’s characters fight to control their destinies with an elemental ferocity, and carry us along to the kind of dramatic revelations that only the best short story writers have achieved. A brilliantly written collection.”  — George Cuomo, author of Among Thieves and Trial by Water

“This is white-knuckle prose; it means what it says and it says what it means. Not that I count words, but when an image can be etched in fewer than ten, I sit up and take notice. When an image is limned in fewer than five words, I pretty near shiver. The stories in Irish Girl provide more shiver per page than most stories provide in twenty.”  — Janet Peery,  author of The River Beyond the World

“The material here may be dark, but the stories are psychologically astute and emotionally powerful. They are densely layered—mixing multiple story lines in the past and present—but so masterfully intertwined, with one strand conjuring the others, that we never become tangled in the narrative. Instead, we are pulled through the story, eager to see how the disparate pieces will click together, which they always do, often with a surprising little jolt.”  Colorado Review


Go to the audiobook page

Listen to “Shadowing David Sedaris” on NPR’s The Story

Read “When You Are Engulfed by David Sedaris” on

See the full book jacket

The author on designing the cover

Read O. Henry Prize-winning title story “Irish Girl” [PDF]

Read O. Henry Prize-winning title story “Irish Girl” on Great Jones Street

Read New Letters Award-winning story “Dirt Men” on Great Jones Street

Read Geval Press Story Prize-winning story “Water”

What is the “TWindle” Mechanism?

2008 Katherine Anne Porter Prize Judge Janet Peery’s Full Report [PDF]

David Sedaris’ Favorites in The New Yorker

ForeWard Reviews Magazine [PDF]

The Iowa Review [PDF] 

New Letters Magazine [PDF]

Forth Magazine [PDF]

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