At college in 1980s Luton, Robbie Goulding, an Irish-born teenager, meets the elusive Fran Mulvey, an orphaned Vietnamese refugee. Together they form a band. Joined by cellist Sarah-Thérèse Sherlock and her twin brother Seán on drums, The Ships in the Night set out to chase fame. But the story of this makeshift family is haunted by ghosts from the past.
Spanning 25 years, The Thrill of it All rewinds and fast-forwards through an evocative soundtrack of struggle and laughter. Infused with blues, ska, classic showtunes, New Wave and punk, using interviews, lyrics, memoirs and diaries, the tale stretches from suburban England to Manhattan’s East Village, from Thatcher-era London to the Hollywood Bowl, from the meadows of the Glastonbury Festival to a wintry Long Island, culminating in a Dublin evening in July 2012, a night that changes everything.
A story of loyalties, friendship, the call of the muse, and the beguiling shimmer of teenage dreams, this is a warm-hearted, funny and deeply moving novel for anyone that’s ever loved a song.
Ranging from urgently contemporary London and Dublin to New York's Lower East Side in the nineteenth century, from dark comedy to poignancy, from the wryly provocative to the quietly beautiful, these stories - Joseph O'Connor's first collection in more than twenty years - offer a gathering of dreamers and lost souls who contend with the confusions of living.
Here are men without women, children parenting parents, residents of the uncertain country that is post-boom Ireland, emigrants, travellers, cheats and lovers, families, friends and foes.
The Irish Male at Home and Abroad is the hilarious sequel to Joe O'Connor's bestseller The Secret World of the Irish Male. From flirting lessons in downtown Manhattan to being offered a good ride in Disneyland by the now legendary Wanda, it was a long, strange and hilarious trip. Now, in The Irish Male at Home and Abroad, O'Connor returns faster, funnier and filthier than ever before.
Impersonating Santa Claus in a busy Dublin store on Christmas Eve, spending a penny in Lord Jeffrey Archer's penthouse loo, traipsing the local-radio publicity circuit in 100-degree Australian heat, on the run in revolutionary Nicaragua, contemplating the Shroud of Turin, or making a deposit in a grotty sperm bank - here are tall tales and short stories: absurd, anarchic and unforgettably side-splitting adventures from home and abroad.
Laugh-out-loud funny, yet always affectionate and sometimes poignant, O'Connor roams through an Ireland of wife-swapping sodomites and late-night sodalities, when not getting lost in the restless new Europe of beach holidays, terrible beauties and Baywatch lookalikes. It's going to be another weird and uproarious trip. But like Wanda once said: Hitch a ride, sweetheart, and hang on real tight!
Dublin, 1907. A young actress begins an affair with a damaged older man, the leading playwright at the theatre where she works. Outspoken and flirtatious, Molly Allgood is a Catholic girl from the slums of Dublin, dreaming of stardom in America. Her lover, John Synge, is a troubled genius, whose life is hampered by convention and by the austere and God-fearing mother with whom he lives. Their affair, sternly opposed by friends and family, is quarrelsome, affectionate and tender.
Many years later, Molly, now a poverty-stricken old woman, makes her way through London's bomb-scarred city streets, alone but for a snowdrift of memories. Her once dazzling career has faded but her unquenchable passion for life has kept her afloat.
Joseph O'Connor's love affair with all things American led to an extraordinary tour of the United States to visit the nine different towns called Dublin, as well as some of the great cities and tiny hamlets in between. Along the way he wittily deconstructs the legends of a whole pantheon of Irish American heroes, from John F. Kennedy to Billy the Kid, and takes a quick detour to finally answer that most important question: was Elvis really Irish?
The result is a hilarious, poignant and unforgettable book that celebrates the breathtaking diversity of the Irish influence on America and actually manages to find a town called Dublin, somewhere on the planet, that doesn't have one single pub within its limits...
1865. The American Civil War is ending. Eighteen years after the famine ship Star of the Sea docked at New York, the daughter of two of her passengers sets out from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on a walk across a devastated America. Eliza Duane Mooney is searching for her younger brother she has not seen in four years, one of the hundred thousand children drawn into the war. His fate has been mysterious and will prove extraordinary.
It's a walk that will have consequences for many seemingly unconnected survivors: a love-struck cartographer, a haunted Latina poetess, rebel guerrilla Cole McLaurenson, runaway slave Elizabeth Longstreet and the mercurial revolutionary James Con O'Keeffe, who commanded a brigade of Irish immigrants in the Union Army and is now Governor of a western wilderness where nothing is as it seems.
Joseph O'Connor was born in Dublin. His novels include Cowboys and Indians (Whitbread Prize shortlist), Star of the Sea (Irish Post Award for Fiction, France's Prix Millepages, Prix Madeleine Zepter for European Novel of the Year), Redemption Falls, and Ghost Light (Dublin One City One Book Novel, 2011). In 2012 he won the Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Achievement in Literature. His work has been published in thirty-five languages.