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 new country that is Ireland after the Celtic Tiger, 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.
Where Have You
Been? was nominated as Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards 2012 and chosen as a Book of the Year by Colm Tóibín (Irish Times), Peter Kemp (Sunday Times), Madeleine Keane (Sunday Independent), Nadine O'Regan (Sunday Business Post) Philip Womack (New Humanist magazine) and Richard Fitzpatrick (Irish Examiner).
"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."
"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."
"Full of lovely, delicate perceptive stuff. Joseph O’Connor is in the tradition of masterly Irish
writers of short fiction."
"Lustrously evocative…It's the Irish author's first collection of short stories in more than 20
years and it's masterful .....Vivid, compassionately rendered tales..."
SUNDAY BUSINESS POST
"O’Connor showcases the kind of effortlessly comic demotic cadences that first endeared him to
"A wonderful collection of stories."
THE WORKS, RTE TELEVISION
"I couldn’t recommend Joseph O’Connor’s stories enough.... One of my favourite books of the
year... His turn of phrase is a delight."
RYAN TUBRIDY, RTE RADIO
"The highlight of these accomplished stories is the superb title story, revealed gradually with
beautiful subtlety. Excellent."
"Frank O'Connor believed the short story to be characterised most of all by "an intense awareness
of human loneliness", and it's this O'Connor movingly displays here [in the story ‘The Wexford
"Dublin in all its gore and glory is quite wonderfully evoked...The language shines, and the landscape comes so wonderfully to life...A spellbinding way
with words.... A collection of an extraordinary calibre."
"O’Connor’s first collection in more than twenty years is well worth the wait...Individually these
stories are quietly unassuming gems; together, a powerful ode to modern Ireland."
THE INDEPENDENT (LONDON)
"O'Connor's deftly poignant prose unites tales of old New York, the ghosts of the Celtic Tiger and yuppy London."
JOANNA HARRIS, VOGUE MAGAZINE
"It is O'Connor's tenderness in examining troubled, fragile lives which leaves the lasting impression from a master at work."
RICHARD FITZPATRICK, IRISH EXAMINER, BEST BOOKS OF 2012
"This collection is beautiful; full of pure, simple truths that linger long in the mind. All around O’Connor’s characters, things change – but humanity, in its loves and losses, stays the same."
PHILIP WOMACK, NEW HUMANIST MAGAZINE
"O’Connor’s prose is satisfyingly sensitive to his protagonists and enchantingly rhythmical, his pacing is perfect, his dialogue masterful at revealing what is really swimming to-and-fro between characters."
"Joseph O'Connor's collection of stories Where Have You Been? is 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."
COLM TÓIBÍN, IRISH TIMES, BOOKS OF THE YEAR
"A masterclass. Mood and style in these richly concise, crisply written stories are confidently varied. Adding vitality to the virtuosity is a terrific ear for idiomatic speech."
SUNDAY TIMES BEST BOOKS OF 2012, PETER KEMP