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Last Year, When We Were Young

4.45  ·  Rating details ·  31 ratings  ·  22 reviews
WINNER: 2014 AHWA Australian Shadows Award, Collected Work

'Last Year, When We Were Young' brings together 16 tales that defy conventions of genre and style, every one with an edge sharper than a razor and darker than a night on Neptune.

From the darkly hilarious "All the Clowns in Clowntown" to the heart-breaking and disturbing title story, this debut collection from multi-
Paperback, 306 pages
Published May 30th 2014 by Satalyte Pty Ltd
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4.45  · 
Rating details
 ·  31 ratings  ·  22 reviews

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Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have read some amazing collections this year.

Works by Laird Barron, Hank Schwaeble, and Clive Barker... to name just a few.

So when I say that McKiernan's collection Last Year, When We Were Young ranks alongside those previous books I don't say it lightly. Last Year, When We Were Young was one of my favourite reads of the year so far, and its stories are still haunting me weeks after I finished it.

Collecting all of McKiernan's previous short work, Last Year, When We Were Young is one of the m
Frank Errington
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Review copy

I've mentioned before how much I enjoy what's coming out of the Australian horror writing community and this new collection of shorts from Andrew J. McKiernan just adds to that impression.

Last Year, When We Were Young cover's his young career from his first published short in July of 2007 though November of 2012. Sixteen stories, with only one thing in common, they are all exceptional.

It all starts with a delightful fantasy with beautiful prose, "The Memory of Water," which opens with
Isobel Blackthorn
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Last Year, When We Were Young contains some of the finest horror writing I have come across. Edgy, intelligent in conception, and delivered with poise in an easy and engaging literary style, McKiernan has penned a compelling collection of shorts brimming with darkness and menace.

My favourite is ‘Daivadana’, a story of Mark Reynolds, a son sent to Tajikistan to do his father’s bidding and discover what is going on inside a new high rise development in a city rebuilding after war. He meets Jahanda
Greg Chapman
Jun 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Here is the link to my review over at Thirteen O'Clock:

Amanda Kool
Jul 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
'Last Year, When We Were Young' is loaded with well-written, gripping tales, each uniquely different in tone, voice and theme.
McKiernan's style is both descriptive and restrained. His turn of phrase is a delight. His characters are each as full and flawed and realised as you could want for their bite-sized turns on the page.

From the eerie premise of 'The Message', through the dreadful certainty of 'Love Death', to the inevitable fate of the hero of 'Calliope: A Steam Romance'; each story creates
Phillip Berrie
Jan 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthologies
This is a collection of short stories by someone I consider to be one of Australia's most promising short story writers. It should also have another half star.

One of the things I like most about this author's work is the amount of scholarship that obviously goes into his stories, Another is the wide range of genres and situations he is willing to explore.

I have read a number of these stories before (and they're still good) and it is great to see them finally collected together in one place. My
Amanda J Spedding
Jun 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
There's an undeniable skill in being able to tell a complete story within a limited amount of words, and not everyone can do it. Andrew McKiernan is one of those writers who damn well can.

See complete review here:
Tsana Dolichva
Jun 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Last Year, When We Were Young by Andrew J McKiernan is the author's first short story collection and, indeed, his first solo book. I should note up front that, once upon a time, the author and I were in the same writing critique group. What this mainly means is that I'd seen early drafts of a few stories, a long time ago, and had very vague memories of them. But I thought I should disclose that up front.

There was a decent variety of stories in Last Year, When We Were Young, with most of them ten
Danny Seipel
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Aussie horror writer (although diversifying now I believe) presents a collection of his short stories spanning multiple genres.

Dark (although, two of them have happy endings), disturbing and consistently excellent.
Shawn Remfrey
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: home-library
Before I get in to this review, I want to let you all know that I am not a fan of the short story. I know there are a lot of people out there who adore them, but that's not me. It's incredibly difficult to build a strong bond between reader and character within a few short pages. It's difficult to world build. It's difficult to tell a story that will make the reader think afterwards, or even be entertained. From the writing aspect, a short story is hard to write! On the rare occasion that a writ ...more
Dave Versace
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Andrew McKiernan’s collection “Last Year, When We Were Young” is a fine example of a strong writer testing his limits by stretching in different directions. As you might expect from an Australian writer with a well-deserved reputation for compelling dark fantasy and horror, outback ghosts and urban nightmares are represented.

One of my favourite stories appears early in this volume: “White Lines, White Crosses” is a grimly familiar tragedy of teenage isolation, testosterone-fuelled recklessness
Nora Peevy
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The title weaves its way through every short story in this anthology. It's been a long time since I've read a collection that touched my heart and made me weep. I wept not with sadness, but with gladness. Andrew McKiernan took me on an emotional and healing journey, for you see, I've been mourning the death of my father and I haven't felt much, mostly numb, but his stories took me on a cathartic journey and played to my heartstrings. Every story spoke to me of a loss of innocence, when I was you ...more
Matthew Morrison
Oct 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
This author has the masterful knack for immersing the reader in each new world within the first half-page. From a steam punk Sydney, to a post-apocalyptic outback town; from a seedy 1940s bar to a core-drilling base on a long-term comet.

In the interests of full disclosure, I should point out that Andrew did the artwork for my first ever published short story.

That aside, this is a fantastically diverse collection.

Sure, there are some stories that do nothing for me. But the beauty of a short story
Alayna Cole
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
The short story collection Last Year, When We Were Young, by Andrew J McKiernan, shines a unique light on classic horror. The sixteen tales in the collection draw inspiration from a variety of genres and styles, with the magically humorous juxtaposed against the frightfully repulsive, but each story has something in common: they are all hauntingly clever.

Each twisted tale is striking and features an assortment of fascinating characters. From a mute mime to a woman in search of a second chance, f
I used to say I didn't really like short stories. That's not true anymore. I have read several books of short stories recently and quite enjoyed them. Up until this book I would have said that for me the collection needs to have some common thread more than just the same genre, so single author collections are preferred.
This is single author, and what an author! I loved everything about this book of dark tales. I don't know what genre to classify this, seemed to be lots.
All I can say is Try it
Jan 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was an enjoyable, varied collection of high quality stories. I realised I had read a few of them before, not realising they were from the same author. I have to admire the way Andrew McKiernan manages to be proficient in so many different styles and genres. Being so different in style means that some of the stories were more to my personal taste than others. All were well-written. The original story 'Last Year, When We Were Young' was a disturbing and unique tale that I would expect to get ...more
Keith Stevenson
Oct 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a significant collection from Australian speculative fiction author, Andrew McKiernan. His writing is assured and vivid and he has the knack of inhabiting the character of the story so completely you can't help but be drawn into the strange, dark worlds he creates. Equally recommended for reading on cold dark nights when the wind rattles at the window or under the harsh uncaring sun of an Australian summer.
Aug 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is like a smorgasbord of short stories, each one with its own flavour, each satisfying and delightful in its own way. Beautifully written, the book is both fulfilling to the appetite and yet somehow also more-ish. Definitely would love to see more published work from Andrew McKiernan in the near future!
Alan Baxter
Jun 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
A great collection from one of Australia's foremost short fiction writers. He's a friend of mine, but he's also a brilliant writer. Do yourself a favour and check this out.
Deborah Sheldon
Jul 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
A superb collection. Horror with heart; a rare combination that's worth your time, believe me.
J. Smith
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I should have written this review months ago. It was sometime in June that I finished Andrew J McKiernan’s Last Year, When We Were Young and it’s close on September now, and in all that time I’ve been mulling on what I could possibly write that might do justice to this extraordinary collection of stories.

To say it is a diverse collection is both to state the obvious and to understate the breadth of ground—the genres, the ideas, the voices—that these fifteen stories cover. The tales are so varied
Tim Hill
Jul 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. Admittedly, when I had just started the first story I wasn't sure that it was quite what I was looking for. I felt a little out of my depth, but on further reflection this is actually one of the themes of the story. However, it was towards the end of this story and its awful approaching inevitability that I realised that I would be staying with it.

Looking back, this was my reaction to a fair few of the stories, and its something that I like in a story - the sense that y
Liz Koontz
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Andrew J McKiernan is an author and illustrator living and working on the Central Coast of New South Wales. His stories have been published in magazines such as Aurealis and Midnight Echo and in numerous anthologies. He has been shortlisted for multiple Aurealis, Australian Shadows, and Ditmar Awards, and won the 2014 Australian Shadow for Collected Work. His illustrations have appeared in books a ...more