Hagstone by Sinéad Gleeson

Here is a fantastic piece by Sinéad Gleeson for her fiction debut, Hagstone. Taking readers to the darker side of human nature and the mysteries of faith and the natural world.

I’ve always been a little obsessed by remote places. Being from a large island like Ireland means we have a collective fascination with isolated communities. The central character in Hagstone is Nell, an artist who lives very much on her own terms, and her practice is rooted in the land and mythology. Her work is partly inspired by the secluded setting and eerie sound that only some islanders can hear.  On the other side of the island lives a mysterious community of women called The Iníons who have cut themselves off from the world. As Hagstone opens, they reach out to Nell to commission an artwork marking a key moment in their history. Initially reluctant, Nell’s curiosity leads her to accept and she is keen to learn their motivations for the life they’ve chosen. But like all tight-knit groups, there are divisions and tension, and soon Nell begins to suspect that there might be more behind the invitation than she thought. As preparations for their annual festival mount, it’s only a matter of time before the truth will come out…

Hagstone is a novel of the senses – not just because of the mysterious sound, but also the landscape, the smell of sea, Nell’s art and the passionate affairs she pursues – first with an island man Cleary, and later a famous American actor. The island itself is fictional and never named, but is inspired by places in Ireland, Scotland, Fårö and other remote settings. A hagstone is a stone from the sea with a hole bored through it. Historically, fishermen tied them to their boats to keep them safe. Some call them witches’ stones, and it’s said if you look through the hole, you see a different view of the world. Although Hagstone takes some dramatic turns, it’s really a book about how to make the life you want, at all costs.

You can now shop Hagstone by Sinéad Gleeson online.

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