‘Hay’ by David Hayden

I’ve known David for a long time, which perhaps accounts in part for the profound effect this collection had when I first read it at the fag end of last summer. In part, but not entirely. It’s a wonderful book and this is a wonderful story, which, from its everyday opening — Andy, sitting on a train, looking out of the window — enacts a gradual stepping away from the profane and the usual into a world of such rich invention and beauty that it takes the breath away. The beauty and invention that most beguiles here is not the kind associated with language or phrase – although there is plenty of that too — but the beauty of thought and of execution. It’s a story that both asks everything from us and nothing at all. I’m not joking — or exaggerating — when I say that this story, and this collection more widely, jolted me out of some pretty tired habits of reading. 

In Darker With The Lights On (Little Island Press, 2017)