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O'Connor, Joseph

life irish

(Irish, 1963– )

As well as being a novelist and short-story writer O'Connor is an astute commentator on the Irish male at home and abroad. He worked for the British Nicaraguan Solidarity Campaign, the setting for Desperadoes (1994) where Johnny Little goes missing and his divorced parents try to find out more about his disappearance. O'Connor's writing deftly balances the serious and darkly humorous. The Salesman (1998), set in Dublin, is imbued with the same painful humour. Bill Sweeney's life is falling apart around him. His daughter Maeve lies in a coma after a robbery, providing the focus for revenge for all the things that have gone wrong in his life. Then fate intervenes.

O'Connor's fifth novel is the thriller Star of the Sea (2002), which charts a voyage from famine-stricken Ireland to New York in winter 1847. Hundreds of half-starved refugees are crowded into steerage, and a camouflaged murderer roams the decks; first class passengers include a radical American journalist and a bankrupt aristocratic landlord. Meticulously researched and compellingly written, this is deservedly a bestseller.

Brian Moore, Glenn Patterson  TO/JR

O'Donnell, Peadar [next] [back] O'Connor, John

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