“The Neverlands, a virtuoso mosaic of microfictions by Damhnait Monaghan, tells the story of Nuala, a child caught in the crossfire of her parents' troubled marriage. This is a family epic in flash form, masterfully and movingly distilled, both devastating and hopeful. A gorgeous debut.” Kathy Fish
“The Neverlands is a heart-tugger of a collection. In pitch-perfect colloquial prose, Damhnait Monaghan waltzes us through the sorrows of a poverty-stricken Irish family, who struggle to love each other well. Funny, clever, warm and sad, this is a beautiful book.” Nuala O’Connor
The interconnected stories in The Neverlands are very raw and very real.
A sample flash can be read below.
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Nuala: Dutch Courage
Da staggers up to the school gates at morning break and calls for Nuala. Her stomach is bubbling but she goes over and looks at him through the fence. He smiles and there’s more teeth gone. When he says he’s proud of his Nuala, she pinches her wrist hard so she doesn’t cry. Why does he have to be drunk to say anything good? Sister Angelique comes to lead her away and says it’s Dutch courage. Nuala says she doesn’t know much about Holland and Sister Angelique says actually it’s the Neverlands. And Nuala thinks that sounds about right.
The eponymous mosaic flash (first published in Jellyfish Review) that inspired this pamphlet was named one of the Best British and Irish Flash Fiction (BIFFY) 2018-19.
"This heart-wrenching flash collection tells the story of a poverty-stricken Irish family dealing with the effects of loss and alcoholism. Each flash story can be read as a stand alone yet together they culminate to form a bigger story. Some stories run to a couple of pages in length and other are less than page. Each succeeds in creating a depth of atmosphere and characterisation that is truly impressive. [...]I absolutely loved The Neverlands. It is stunning from start to finish. [...] If you have never read flash fiction before then this collection is an excellent example of the form at its best."
Yasmina Floyer, TSS Publishing, the full, detailed, review here.
"Monaghan draws these characters and their hardscrabble existence with a skilled hand, taking care to grant readers intermittent moments of dark humor and optimism. This slim pamphlet contains unblinking truths about families, motherhood, childhood, poverty, and manages to make readers feel as though they’ve read an epic novel about Nuala and Mammy in just a handful of words."
Frannie Mcmillan, SmokeLong Quarterly, full review here