EXCERPT: Whither the plan, big guy?
She knows I hate her calling me that. I won’t rise to her bait.
Short term? We wend our merry way out of this particular circle of hell, ideally without being stopped. Thereafter we hit the northern rim of Paris before sundown, check in with Carl at some pre-ordained routier. Thereafter egg, chips, bed. Long term? The two of us on the road, with only the occasional incoming or outgoing text to maintain radio contact and to stave off all search parties.
Roger Wilco, she says. Six days?
Six days minimum.
We may investigate the possibility of stringing it out. Not a dicky bird.
Seriously? she says. She stares bewildered into middle distance. Who am I gonna tell?
You really worry me, she says quietly. You know that?
I know nothing.
ABOUT THIS BOOK: Heartbroken after a long, painful love affair, a man drives a haulage lorry from England to France. Travelling with him is a secret passenger – his daughter. Twenty-something, unkempt, off the rails.
With a week on the road together, father and daughter must restore themselves and each other, and repair a relationship that is at once fiercely loving and deeply scarred.
As they journey south, down the motorways, through the service stations, a devastating picture reveals itself: a story of grief, of shame, and of love in all its complex, dark and glorious manifestations.
MY THOUGHTS: I made the comment, part way through We Are Not In The World by Connor O’Callaghan, that this is an incredibly strange book, but equally compelling. As the novel progresses and the purpose of the journey becomes clearer, it becomes a little less strange, but no less compelling.
This is not an easy read. O’Callaghan makes the reader work for his enjoyment. The narrative meanders backwards and forwards in time seemingly randomly and totally without warning. It is often difficult to tell what is happening to whom. It can be like trying to watch a drive-in movie in shifting fog. Just when you think you have a handle on something, that you are able to grip something solid, it all shifts, and you are once again quite unsure of that of which you were absolutely sure only moments ago. And yet, it is quite beautiful. I could no more have stopped reading than not have preordered the new Stephen King.
Paddy (NOT Pat) has grown up the elder son in a dysfunctional family. His father is dead, and his younger brother, Art, named for his father- usually the privilege that falls to the eldest- is educated at his father’s old boarding school. Paddy basically brings himself up, his mother spending her days smoking and drinking whisky in front of an endless stream of old movies on the TV. And yet, it is after his mother that Paddy names his daughter, Kitty. And Art, the distant younger brother, is her godfather. She calls him The Godfather, and he calls her Madam. They are close. He takes her under his wing when Paddy’s marriage implodes.
This is a novel of grief and loss, a broken marriage, a love affair, family relationships, regrets and aspirations, and ‘the thing we never mention.’ It is this thing that leads to the road trip.
Not everyone will love this book. I do.
Time does what time does best. It passes.
She tells me, with all the joie de vivre of a stoned hippopotamus, how moved or excited she is.
The lyrics seem to detach themselves miraculously from any meaning and acquire, in fragrant humidity, all the sheen and substance of bubbles blown by a child in a suburban garden.
So much of love is how another sees you.
Happiness comes and goes. It tends not to hang around. Unhappiness has a habit of outstaying its welcome.
THE AUTHOR: Connor O’Callaghan is originally from Dundalk, and now divides his time between Dublin and the North of England.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Random House UK, Transworld, Doubleday via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of We Are Not In The World by Connor O’Callaghan for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com
This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon,Instagram and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3222218840