Where Have You Been? is award-winning novelist Joseph O'Connor's first collection of short stories in more than twenty years.
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 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 focus is on those moments of the everyday when possibility seems to appear. A football match becomes an occasion of hard-won acceptances. An old acquaintance re-encountered plays mind-games in a bar. A fling between people who have almost nothing in common alters their lives forever. In Dublin, a desperately ill woman meets a tour guide in a hotel. A civil servant drives his father into Wicklow to say a final goodbye. A boy comes of age in a seaside town where everything is about to change.
Where Have You Been? is a powerfully moving, entertaining and life-affirming read, from the internationally acclaimed author of Star of the Sea, Redemption Falls and Ghost Light.
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The seven short stories and one titular novella in this collection are studies of pained love, bereavement, mental disturbance, suicide, economic hardship and thwarted ambition. But this is not a bleak book, and the final novella, despite its grim themes of loss and mental illness, ends in wistful harmony. There is a gentleness and a fellow feeling extended to these bruised lives of quiet despair - Times Literary Supplement
A masterclass display of versatility...mood and style in these richly concise, crisply written pieces are confidently varied, too...adding vitality to the virtuosity is a terrific ear for idiomatic speech - Sunday Times Books of the Year
Playful but also at times sorrowful; it allows in great quantities of life, offering the dramas at times a dark edge but also the full glory of our earthly confusion. - Irish Times
O’Connor’s pin-sharp descriptions are beautifully contrasted with the stark simplicity of the stories, but he teaches a masterclass in what’s better left unspoken, whether the death of a child too raw to detail or the story of a mother “too painful to tell here”. Individually these stories are quietly unassuming gems; together, a powerful ode to modern Ireland - Independent
O’Connor’s first collection of short stories for 20 years reasserts a mastery of the form... An exhilarating array of sharp dialogue and biting one-liners... A fine compassionate collection - Irish Independent
A master at work - Irish Examiner
Full of lovely, delicate perceptive stuff. Joseph O'Connor is in the tradition of masterly Irish writers of short fiction - The Scotsman
A masterclass in versatility... Atmospheric vignettes bring O’Connor’s prose close to poetry... His terrific ear for idiomatic speech makes dialogue sizzle off the page... This outstanding collection exhibits the continuing vitality of the great Irish tradition of richly concise, crisply written stories that Joyce’s work began - Sunday Times
An exhilarating array of sharp dialogue and biting one-liners worthy of Hugh Leonard, his fiction charts the fragility of relationships, the cruelty of chance and circumstance throwing people together only to shatter their lives, the nightmare of distrust and guilt stirred by memory, and the stark fear of separation and being left alone in the stillness of the night - Irish Independent
Joseph O’Connor’s first collection of short stories in 20 years sees […] the author once again showcase the kind of effortlessly comic demotic cadences that first endured him to readers - Metro
Written with assurance and tenderness […] Joseph O’Connor is in the tradition of masterly Irish writers of short fiction - Scotsman
A multi-layered, thought-provoking collection that might bring with it a bout of sweet nostalgia - BookMunch
A master at work - Irish Examiner
A masterclass display of versatility... mood and style in these richly concise, crisply written pieces are confidently varied, too... adding vitality to the virtuosity is a terrific ear for idiomatic speech - Sunday Times
A writer who reveals the power of the short story to speak for our time - Irish Times
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.