Author: Austin Collings
Design & Publication: PARIAH PRESS
Steven Cherry (Sleeve)
Chloe Steele (Illustration)
Natalie Curtis (Photography)
Jonny Walsh (Photography)

Publication Date: December 2014
Format: Paperback (A) Perfect Bound
Printing: Offset Lithograph
Category: Flash-Fiction

ISBN: 9780993037801

Exclusive pariahpress.com offer
[RRP £9.99]


This book is designed to be read on the bus or in the pub before or after they try to slowly kill you at school or in work or even at home.

SKU: PP#1 Category:

~ • Synopsis • ~

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.

• The Myth of Brilliant Summers – Book Trailer #1 •


~ • Praise For The Myth of Brilliant Summers  • ~

“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.”
John Healy – author of The Grass Arena

“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.”
Daniel Woodrell – 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.”
Kevin Mitchell – chief sports writer, The Observer and The Guardian

“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.”
Tony Grisoni – screenwriter, Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas and Red Riding

“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

“Forget bogus pessimism, this is real pessimism like mother used to make. Austin Collings says ‘no’ in a thousand inventive ways. Good on him.”
Ian Pattison – novelist and creator of Rab C. Nesbitt

“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.”
Ron Butlin – Scottish Poet Laureate (2008-2014), and author of The Sound Of My Voice

“These terse and haunting stories from the decayed heart of England are percussive and unforgettable. A truly impressive collection.”
Howard Cunnell – author of The Sea On Fire and Fathers & Sons

“Very, very impressive.”
Michael Bracewell – author of England is Mine, and the Gilbert & George and Damien Hirst art catalogues

“Evocative sights and sounds, teasing smells of milk on the turn, mince and home brew; all just a taste of what’s to come. A disturbingly addictive read that prodded long-buried memories and conjured some I didn’t know I had.”
Deborah Curtis – author of Touching From A Distance: Ian Curtis & Joy Division

“What I value in Austin Collings is the precipitant madness that spooks his writing, the youth-clips, dark signals that bounce into urban spaces and his detailed take on characters that are always one-inch in and one-inch over the edge.”
Jeremy Reed – author of The Life & Career of Lou Reed: Waiting For The Man, The Dilly: A History of Piccadilly Rent Boys and A Stranger on Earth: The Life & Work of Anna Kavan

“Refracted memories, mordant vignettes and hazy visions: Austin Collings’s The Myth of Brilliant Summers compiles prose postcards like frayed polaroids, over-exposed, smeared with iridescent and mundane corruptions and documenting glimpses of the edgeland, rag-and-bone places from whose marrow the essence of us is oozing.”
Mark Blacklock – author of I’m Jack

“This is a beautiful book, both as an object and because of Austin Collings’ quiet eloquence. His wonderfully lithe prose suffuses this series of short—and very short—stories with a deep humour, so authentic that it could only have evolved in the very ordinary, unsettling, edgeland-alienation he portrays so well.”
Kevin Boniface – artist, and author of The Most Difficult Thing Ever

“Austin’s book has some beautiful, subtle turns of phrase in that are deceptively simple. I’m a big fan. It reminded me of a sort of northern English version of Sam Shepard’s monologues.”
Nick Power – author of Small Town Chase and member of The Coral

The narrative comprises a broken love letter, addressed to a place or (my guess) more likely a person. At the centre of Summers there’s an aching void (of tragic loss? of bittersweet nostalgia?) that’s painful to witness. How to describe the book? Not a novel, certainly, more a series of vignettes carved and fashioned using a rusty scalpel. To me it reads as if he’s capturing fractured fragments of a decaying world, but with peripheral vision – the fleeting stuff you glimpse from the corner of your eye, never what’s blatantly in front of you. Think of a hollow-chested man in a string vest sitting on a sagging sofa, coughing his insides out while clutching a wet dimp between sepia-stained finger and thumb, grimy white feet with black-rimmed toenails stuck to the viscid carpet. If that image strikes terror into your dreams, yet with a thrilling fascination, you’ve come to the right neighbourhood: this is the book for you.
Trevor Hoyle – author of Rule of Night and Down the Figure 7

“The blackness of its heart is matched only by the blackness of its humour. Summer in the filthy subways, half-empty pubs, abandoned building sites and endless backyards of an all-too-familiar England never seemed so bleak, or so brilliant.”
Will Carr – Deputy Director, The International Anthony Burgess Foundation

“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

“Collings paints vivid, personal pictures that live with the reader. While rooted in the grim reality of the North of England’s flatland suburbia, there are moments of fantasy that do not feel out of place, nor unwelcome. In the same way that Raymond Carver may make a quick dash to a supernatural realm, before returning to a terrifying, hundred-miles-an-hour stillness, Collings plays with the suffocating normality of real life in the same fashion.”
Thomas Gorton – Dazed & Confused

“The best of these vulgar suburban vignettes will stick like chewing gum in your hair.”
Olaf Tyaransen – Hot Press

“Tim Lott’s search if not for the “working-class novel” then at least for fiction that stems from what most would consider to be the lower tier of our society, could take him to Austin Collings’s recently published The Myth of Brilliant Summers (PARIAH PRESS). The English is pure steel, even if the message is unremittingly bleak.”
The Guardian

“Manchester-based independent launches with definitive Mancunian title in response to perfect prefect-like publishing industry.”
Anna James – The Bookseller

“What Morrissey does for song lyrics, Collings does for fiction. Notably, they are both Mancunian, unapologetically miserable (!) and brilliantly observant… Some stories are so short (just a page) that I would find myself revisiting their almost mystical impact; they got really under my skin, like sunburn.”
Collette Walsh – Huffington Post, ‘Top Summer Read

“‘Summer days, when things go wrong,’ is the opening to one of the stories in Austin Collings’ collection, The Myth of Brilliant Summers, but it could just as well be true of all of them. Young lads muck about together in the holidays, but they’re not engaged in the Blytonesque plunging into pools and riding ponies that the title suggests. These lads watch pigs being slaughtered, see a man and woman engage in a very public fight, get texts from blokes who’ve been in the nuthouse. Their world is urban and harsh, encapsulated in graphic prose whose cynicism rolls back to reveal clear-sighted observation and ultimately, compassion.”
Jean Rafferty – author of Myra, Beyond Saddleworth

“Austin Collings’ collection of short stories spans imaginary child murders, the inertia of hopeless job seeking and the mundaneness of teenage boyhood… While this might sound like some sort of dystopian, post-apocalyptic tale, Collings’ world is always recognisable and real. The protagonist becomes a ghostly, detached outsider looking in on scenes of destruction, decay and absence… It is impossible to escape a comparison with Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting.”
Holly Rimmer-Tagoe – The Skinny

“The book’s a myth in itself. The summers were ‘brilliant’. Not all but most…”
Mike Dowson – Fashion Photographer – Elle, French Vogue

“His style is that of the literary miniaturist, conjuring up still-lifes in words, a landscape portrait of a desperate edgelands, a Northern somewhere-or-other simmering with “the threat of the unseen; the uncertainty of subways; unfathomable solitude.” This is no gruff but gold-hearted North. It’s a paranoid, damaged world, a world where kids might disappear, to haunt you for years afterwards in missing posters; where girls crowd for the chance to be despoiled by a predatory older man, and fingerless uncles bask in their former glories; where faded hard-livers in wheelchairs go fishing in the canal at night.”
Dale Lately – The Quietus

“Mark E. Smith biographer joins forces with MONEY frontman for debut fiction collection.”
The Line of Best Fit

“It’s not an easy read. Challenging, in terms of the real issues that are documented. Like a really good horror film, it’s not until later on; when you’re doing the washing up for instance, that the stories come back to you. Unsettling!”
Michelle Hussey – BBC Radio Manchester

“The Myth of Brilliant Summers is an engrossing collection of kitchen sink vignettes and fractured memoirs. Collings manages to encapsulate the sapped spirit of decimated communities, capturing the inhabitants as they shadow box off the page, raging against the tedium of stillborn dreams. Whereas traditional narratives might spell out their moral stance, Collings implores you to join the dots using simple prose loaded with psychological triggers.”
Nathan McIlroy – Louder Than War

“Observation is the byword in his stunning series of fractured reflections on the modern male psyche. Ostensibly based in the badlands of Greater Manchester, Collings ruminates on the minutiae of ordinary human failings amid the littered landscape in neat, technicolour lines imbued with stoical humour. Unforgettable sequences featuring lone wolf perverts, Scarface-fixated uncles and marauding squaddies permeate the text, and a superbly compassionate narrative evokes the pathos in the darkness on the edge of town.” Joe Wall – Incendiary Magazine

“Manchester’s inhabitants and urban life are exposed in all their grit and glory by Austin’s dissection, but his scalpel also hits the funny bone. A very Mancunian humour warps characters into caricatures and contests every symbol of oppression. The short stories read like soundscapes of Manchester tuned into the odd frequency of its collective emotion. The relentless and characteristic grey of Manchester permeates the writing. Austin has captured that golden ratio of sad and beautiful.”
Ben Beauvallet – The Mancunion

“There’s a futility about the entire thing and I definitely couldn’t recommend it to anyone looking for a jolly read, but then I don’t think the novel wants to be read by those people. I think it wants people to look around them, to understand that, in between the moments where we’re happy and content, our lives will always be peppered with the bad times. Perhaps there’s something beautiful in that, but either way it’s the truth.”
Jacob Ormrod – Now Then Magazine

“The slates of prose, which are always concise, sometimes unnervingly so, deal with the ebbs and flows of standing still. Timelines and perspectives and quasi-consistent central characters flit backwards and forwards, inwards and outwards to piece together a panorama of boredom and bitterness. It sounds heavy, with aggressive humour and pub dialogue, which Collings hopes achieves “the weight and certainty of a crime report”. The reader is set adrift on damp school holidays and almost-familiar hometowns.”
Lucy Holt – Tusk Journal

“A bit like the work of Dennis Johnson if he’d grown up in Manchester during the dark, dreary Thatcher years.”
James Morrison – Caustic Cover Critic blog

“Pointless rage, cigarette smoke and cheap talk. Petty violence, poor quality drugs and uncompromising love. To take such subject matter and make it readable and captivating is a skill that few writers who are plugged by the big publishing houses today possess. To do it requires an honest, unflinching eye and a deep understanding of the communities where this is real life… These are Kafkaesque passages if Kafka had grown up on a council estate. The Myth of Brilliant Summers is a reminder of everyday dismay and of small town melancholy. It doesn’t try to be glamorous and it doesn’t need to be.”
Rob Gant – Word Riot

“New imprint PARIAH seeks to send the head buzzing over new release.”
Nicholas Clee – Book Brunch

“The book collects a series of short pieces, somewhere between poetry and flash fiction… After a while, The Myth of Brilliant Summers becomes a bit of a blur of murders and disappointments.”
Workshy Fop Blog

And like a film playing over in me head that I couldn’t quite grab a hold of Austin Collings’ choice cut vignettes left me nicely teed-up with their sometimes rat a tat tat tat tat pugilistic language and up for grabs narratives. Crisp approach work with style and content that has some fine digs and jabs amongst nicely observed and experienced moves all the time making me want to read on some more. Handsome.
Ray Richardson – fine artist

“What differentiates him from [early] McEwan, Burnside, or anyone else, is the voice – confident, honest, unsparing. He’s clearly drawn to the dark end of the street, but so am I, because that’s where all the interesting things are. Collings has captured that same atmosphere where drab normality is becoming corrupted, like a polaroid left out in the rain.”
Rik Rawling – artist, illustrator – Headpress, The Sound Projector

“The best thing to happen in Manchester since Hex Enduction Hour.”
Maurice Slaughter


~ • Press & Ephemera • ~

• The Myth of Brilliant Summers – The Bookseller Feature •

• The Myth of Brilliant Summers – Online Press Links •

• The Myth of Brilliant Summers – Press Release •


~ • Trade • ~

• The Myth of Brilliant Summers – Trade Order Details/A.I. •

• The Myth of Brilliant Summers – Product Specification •