Monday 18 December 2017

Books: Tales of wonder from near and far hold something for every reader

Short stories The Things We Lost, the Things We Leave Behind and Other Stories Billy O'Callaghan New Island, pbk

Relentless energy: Billy O’Callaghan
Relentless energy: Billy O’Callaghan

Death haunts the first five stories: death of a child, death of hope on a farm in Enniskeane, death of a marriage in Cork, a miscarriage to another Cork couple and on Coney Island, death hovers over the partner of one of a pair of adulterous lovers.

Yet never has sadness been surrounded by such relentless energy and this energy continues in other stories where Billy O'Callaghan plunges right into the centre of things.

He is a very confident writer whose emotional control is extraordinary, though he does tend to give us everything, which doesn't allow the reader's imagination to expand. And just when you hope there may be a pause coming, up comes another swirling breathless sentence.

A welcome exception is the beautifully paced Keep well to Seaward.

Set in Taiwan, it concerns a young struggling Cork-born writer and his relationship with a waitress and the possibility of her returning with him to Ireland to live.

With a brilliantly designed cover by Andrew Brown, this is a powerful collection by a writer whose future work is highly anticipated.

NEIL DONNELLY

 

Available with free P&P on www.kennys.ie or by calling 091 709350

Irish Independent

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