Joseph O'Connor's WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? heads up a strong Irish contingent on the Edge Hill Short Story Prize longlist, with the collection sitting alongside efforts by Emma Donoghue and Kevin Barry. The award, which is now in its seventh year, is the only prize for single author short story collections published in the UK. A shortlist of five will be announced on May 31st, and the overall winner will be unveiled at a ceremony in London on July 4th.
Joseph O'Connor is also the author of the highly acclaimed novels, STAR OF THE SEA, REDEMPTION FALLS and GHOST LIGHT. He has been awarded the Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Contribution to Literature.
Praise for WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?:
'Joseph O'Connor's novels have always shown a zest and talent for diversity. So it's no surprise to find that WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?, his first collection of short stories for more than 20 years, is a masterclass display of versatility. Widely differing places and periods are vividly evoked…tone, mood and style have a similarly wide span… O'Connor's prose [is] close to poetry. His terrific ear for idiomatic speech makes dialogue sizzle off the page….Break-ups and breakdowns are frequent in these stories that often delicately modulate between comedy and melancholy. Ireland's misfortunes - The troubles, sectarian terrorism - are an underlying presence. O'Connor's opening story, Two Little Clouds, inventively reworks A Little Cloud from James Joyce's DUBLINERS. Echoed cadences and images pay further homage to Joyce. But the finest tribute is the way this outstanding collection exhibits the continuing vitality of the great Irish tradition of richly concise, crisply written stories that Joyce's work began.' -- Peter Kemp, The Sunday Times
'Humour … obliquely provides a cover for confronting readers with the darkness of the soul. …an exhilarating array of sharp dialogue and biting one-liners... 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. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? is his first collection of short stories for 20 years and reasserts a mastery of the form.' -- Irish Independent