Posts tagged ‘colin 0’sullivan’
October 2, 2017
Voilà à quoi ressemble Killarney à l’aube de ce siècle nouveau. Il y a des bagels. Et c’est le genre d’endroit dans lequel elles viennent prendre un café : un bistrot élégant, bien éclairé, minimaliste, avec des tableaux de bon goût sur les murs, des décorations végétales spectrales en forme de bâtons sur les tables et des fauteuils qui vous aspirent, des fauteuils qui vous vaudront des problèmes de vertèbres à terme mais qui sont paradisiaques le temps de ce bref répit, alors que les sacs de shopping lacèrent atrocement les bras fins. »
Colin O’ Sullivan, inconnu au bataillon avant ce premier roman (on lui doit paraît-il de nombreuses nouvelles et des recueils de poésie), a un ton, un style et un univers. Il n’a par contre pas grand-chose en commun avec les innombrables auteurs de polar et de thriller actuels.
Situé à Killarney, ville irlandaise touristique, son Killarney Blues ne compte que deux flics (en uniforme) venus arrêter un type dans un bar. La scène se passe à la page 231 d’un ouvrage qui en compte 270. Elle se termine à la page 234. C’est dire que l’intrigue policière n’est pas au centre de cet ouvrage qui vous happe pourtant dès les premières pages pour ne plus vous lâcher.
[“This book grabs you at the first page and won’t let you put it down.”]
Car Colin O’ Sullivan fait naître une galerie de personnages d’une formidable justesse auxquels on s’attache instantanément.
[“Colin O’Sullivan creates a gallery of characters so true and real that you get attached to them immediately.”]
Au centre de ce petit monde, on trouve Bernard Dunphy, grand amateur de blues et jarvey de profession. En clair, Bernard promène des touristes dans la ville à bord de sa calèche tirée par la jument Ninny. Bernard est un drôle de type, solitaire, un peu inadapté au monde, puant la sueur et portant toujours un gros manteau noir.
Autour de Bernard, il y a sa mère, dure et forte, qui s’occupe de tout pour son grand fils un peu décalé. Et qui porte en elle le souvenir de son mari, noyé dans le lac tout proche. Il y a aussi la belle Marian, dont Bernard est amoureux depuis toujours et qui semble l’ignorer. Elle passe son temps avec ses deux copines, Mags et Cathy, à faire du shopping, à s’envoyer des vannes et à se murger tous les week-ends dans leurs bars préférés tout en s’inquiétant de n’avoir pas encore trouvé l’homme de leur vie à près de 30 ans.
Un récit choral
Il y a encore Jack Moriarty, que Bernard considère comme son seul pote mais qui ne voit pas tout à fait les choses de cette façon. Jack le séducteur, Jack le joueur de foot gaélique incapable de canaliser sa fureur, Jack qui traîne aussi ses fantômes du passé. Et puis il y a Linda la serveuse qui se mue en chanteuse à la nuit tombée, Laura la touriste américaine et son frère, amateur de blues lui aussi…
Tout un petit monde que l’auteur met en scène et suit entre passé et présent, bondissant de l’un à l’autre, tissant un récit choral où les dialogues se réduisent à la portion congrue au profit d’une écriture qui embrasse tous les aspects de l’intrigue, emporte tout sur son passage, tend la main au lecteur pour l’emporter au cœur de ces vies banales et pourtant porteuses d’une multitude de petits et de grands drames.
Au fil des 270 pages, chacun se découvre petit à petit. Tout ce qui semblait évident dans les premiers chapitres prend de nouvelles couleurs, de nouvelles directions, de nouvelles raisons d’être. Le passé resurgit sans cesse et vient le plus souvent pourrir le présent. Heureusement pour Bernard, il y a le blues. Cette musique qui l’habite littéralement, sa passion pour Robert Johnson, Leadbelly, B.B. King et tant d’autres. Dans une Irlande où les clichés culturels croisent sans cesse un nouveau mode de vie mondialisé, Bernard va petit à petit se révéler, ainsi que tous ceux qui l’entourent. Pour le meilleur ou pour le pire.
Porté par un véritable souffle d’écrivain, Killarney Blues est un roman noir, plein de mélancolie et de rêves inaboutis où surgit malgré tout une étonnante lueur d’espoir. Sans la moindre naïveté. Une révélation.
[“Carried by a genuine writing talent, Killarney Blues is a Noir novel full of melancholy and unfulfilled dreams with a surprising glimmer of hope at the end. Without the slightest naivety. A revelation.”]
Roman noir. Killarney Blues, Colin 0’Sullivan ; Tr. de l’anglais par L. Bouton-Kelly, Rivages, 272 p., 21 €, e-book 14,99 €
June 23, 2015
Colin O’Sullivan: The Last Island covers important issues like “environmentalism, animal rights, and the costs of capitalism”. What made you want to write about these issues?
David Hogan: I believe that these are among the paramount issues of our time, and that our responses to them will shape the future. So it would’ve been hard for me not to write about them. In The Last Island the main characters are exiles and in the process of re-invention and redemption. As they struggle to re-make themselves, they are forced to ask certain questions such as: What obligation do we owe our planet and the creatures upon it? What is the nature of desire and possession? What level of cooperation or competition is appropriate? They may not find all the answers, but they are asking the questions. I believe that society too needs to undergo a process of re-invention and redemption, as many of the current answers to these questions become increasingly untenable. We don’t have the answers yet, but, like the characters in The Last Island, we need to continue to ask the questions.
O’S: What do you hope readers will take away from The Last Island?
D.H.: First off, I hope they will find the book transporting and engrossing. And I hope that they will feel that they’ve met some intriguing and thoughtful characters, who offer unconventional ways of thinking about modern life. There are many issues at play for which the novel provides no definitive answers. It does ask a good number of questions, however. In those questions, I hope that some readers might see possibilities.
O’S: Who do you picture as the ideal reader of your work?
D.H.: In Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer, Binx Bolling is on a search, which is described as “what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life.” Binx resists naming the object of his search; it may be God or a greater purpose or something else entirely. It’s a quixotic endeavour with an unclear goal. But what is most important, he believes, is to be aware of the possibility of the search, even if one is unable or unwilling to undertake it. My ideal reader is probably no different than the ideal reader of many other writers. It’s someone who, like Binx, is aware of the possibility of such a search and may read novels for that reason, among others.
O’S: Who is your biggest literary influence? Which writer, living or dead, would you most like to meet?
D.H.: I’ve a whole stable of writers that I keep returning to: Dostoyevsky, Joyce, Beckett, Nikos Kazantzakis, C.P. Cavafy, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ralph Ellison as well as Walker Percy, Frederick Exley, and Jennifer Egan. I read the work of playwrights Tom Stoppard, Martin McDonough, and Rebecca Gilman. I’m very much into the American poet Wendell Berry at the moment. I think his Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front speaks to what ails us.
As to meeting a writer, how about this? I’d like to have been in one of those bars in Paris with Joyce and Hemingway. We’d drink, talk books and then, if Joyce got into a fight, I’d have the pleasure of watching Hemingway step in for him. “Deal with him, Hemingway,” I understand Joyce used to say. It’s the greatest tag-team in the history of literature… or is it boxing?
O’S: What are you currently reading?
D.H.: Skippy Dies by Paul Murray, and I’m wondering why it took me so long to get to it. I’m about half-way through and, so far, it’s thoughtful, moving and very funny.
O’S: Do you listen to music when you write?
D.H.: I like to have something quiet and familiar playing in the background, especially in the first draft stage. If The Last Island has a soundtrack, it’s some of the older CDs of the Pat Metheny Group such as First Circle and Still Life (Talking). When I was struggling with one of the scenes in the Aegean Sea in The Last Island, I can remember listening to the glides and builds of First Circle and thinking ‘something like that.’
O’S: Do you have any words of inspiration on your writing desk?
D.H.: No, none, though I probably should. I do have a memo posted on my desk that reads: no ‘and then’ scenes. It’s to remind me to structure events by direct cause and effect, as opposed to episodically. Useful, I suppose, but far from inspirational.
O’S: Do you read the reviews you get?
D.H.: I probably shouldn’t – they say you shouldn’t — but I do. If someone takes the time to read my novel (or see one of my plays) and write about it, I’m interested in what they have to say.
O’S: You are involved in different kinds of writing, novels, screenwriting, etc. Which comes easiest to you? Which is most difficult?
D.H.: Playwriting seems to come easiest to me, though I’m not sure why. It might have something to do with the limitations of the stage, which demands a mere handful of characters and a single setting or two. It’s dialogue-based, and you can count on the actors, if they’re good, to bring out more than what’s on the page. There’s a tradeoff, of course, because what’s on the stage can be something entirely different from what was imagined, for better or worse. Novels are the most difficult for me, but the satisfaction is great, perhaps for that reason.
O’S: Being an Irishman I’m very pleased you wrote about At Swim Two Birds for your novel recommendation. Is there any other Irish novel or writer that interests you?
D.H.: Many of them. To my mind, the lyrical wordplay of Irish-English is unrivalled. I read anything by Colum McCann, Anne Enright and Kevin Barry. I think I’ll be adding Paul Murray to that list. I’m also a big fan of Irish crime fiction, especially when Tana French, Ken Bruen, Declan Burke, and Brian McGilloway (to name just a few) are doing the writing.
O’S: What does David Hogan do to relax?
D.H.: Less than I used to. Dinner, concerts, the occasional play. The Pacific Ocean lies only a few miles away, and I try to paddle out once or twice a week. My co-surfers call me Big Wave Dave, which, I assure you, is unreservedly ironic.
April 29, 2015
“When something of literary merit affects you, then a sliver is naturally going to rub off on your prose.”
Read the full text here: Reading when I write?
March 31, 2015
Why I Write
By Colin O’Sullivan
I write because I have to.
No message, no voice.
I write for it demands me.
Because I have no choice.
I wake and think of writing,
I go to bed the same.
All day I think of writing,
My antidote, my pain.
Nothing matters but the writing,
Not people, place or things.
There’s only that unbidden quest
To make a sentence sing.
When the writing stops I stop.
In this way it’s like breath.
I do it for I have to
And must continue until death.
Colin O’Sullivan is the author of Killarney Blues
March 17, 2015
March 7, 2015
Colin O’Sullivan about PENTHOUSE-F by Richard Kalich
– So we are going to do this like a courtroom drama, or an interrogation?
– Yes. We are. We are indeed.
– Because most of the book is done in that style.
– I see. Was the book impressive?
– Yes, very impressive. Mr. Kalich is a great writer.
– And he appears in the book too?
– Yes, if it really is him, if you know what I mean…you can call the book postmodern, or that he uses meta-narratives or…
– That all sounds a bit confusing.
– In theory yes, but it’s a very entertaining book. Says a lot about writing. And the creative process. It’s playful, but not flippant. We’re dealing with a serious artist here.
– Oh, really?
– “He’s an idiot. So disconnected . . . conflicted . . . torn apart.”
– Just joking. That’s actually a quote from the book. He often sidesteps you like that. Reminds you of…
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February 11, 2015
“She takes out the tape from its box and inserts it into the stereo. Then she removes her flimsy dressing gown and crawls back into bed. Her legs feel heavy. She doesn’t know if she’s coming down with something or whether it’s the after-effects of last night’s dancing. She’s not as young as she’d like to be. There is a moment of hiss from the tape and she smiles faintly, then she hears the sound of Bernard’s voice.
“This one isn’t an original one now, Marian. This one is called Blood in my Eyes. It’s an old traditional made famous by the Mississippi Sheiks. But I like the version Bob Dylan recorded, too.”
The sound of strumming. Then an abrupt stop.
“Shit, that’s the wrong chord. Let me start again.”
She can’t believe she’s giggling girlishly in her own bed. If anyone saw her. Her mother would certainly censure her for this lack of sophistication.
She lies back with her hands behind her head. May as well enjoy the entertainment.
The guitar is strummed again, and Bernard sings softly.
Woke up this morning, feeling blue,
Seen a good looking girl, can I make love to you?
Hey, hey babe I’ve got blood in my eyes for you,
Hey, hey babe I’ve got blood in my eyes for you.
Marian pulls the covers up to her chin and closes her eyes.”
— Excerpt from KILLARNEY BLUES by Colin O’Sullivan
Available here: http://viewbook.at/KillarneyBluesOSullivan
February 4, 2015
Review of The Nihilesthete, by Richard Kalich (Betimes Books)
When social-worker Haberman finds a limbless wheelchair-bound man observing a street artist, it’s as if all his birthdays have come at once. He can now set about the task that he may always have been destined for, to take this unfortunate victim under his monstrous wing and systematically abuse him (mentally and spiritually) until he is somehow sated.
Why does he do this? What unfortunate events in his past have compelled him to carry out such atrocities? Wrong question. It’s like asking how Winnie got buried in sand in Beckett’s “Happy Days”: the fact is that she just happens to be buried in sand; the fact is that Haberman just happens to be this way, like Simenon’s Frank Friedermaier in Dirty Snow perhaps, bad to the bone. Those looking for easy armchair-psychology rationalizations have come to the wrong anti-hero.
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January 28, 2015
Like the character of Bernard in my debut novel, Killarney Blues, many of my friends are music obsessives, the kind of people who wouldn’t be out of place in Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity.
These cardigan-wearers (to which I am a fully fledged and flouting member) often fire out pointless emails asking all kinds of random music questions. These have been happening for years, and the sad fact is that I have begun to cherish the arrival of these useless inquisitions.
Below are an example of some of the kinds of questions my muso buddies like to ask, and my deeply considered answers (we’re talking hours people, days). Please note also that these answers are liable to change. For example, when recently asked about my favourite Bowie album I instinctively answered Low, but on the following day could just have easily said Station to Station or Hunky Dory. Such is the kind…
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December 17, 2014
Christmas is not always magic but good books always are.
Whether you love or hate Christmas, you might enjoy a good story.
Our collection GIFTS: NINE BITTERSWEET CHRISTMAS STORIES is free on Amazon this week: getBook.at/FREE_GIFTS
December 15, 2014
Congratulations to Colin O’Sullivan whose novel KILLARNEY BLUES is performing extremely well on Amazon Australia:
Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
- #1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Literary Fiction
- #1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Contemporary Fiction
December 12, 2014
Excerpt from KILLARNEY BLUES by Colin O’Sullivan
“Cathy is ignoring Janet’s requests to open the door. She stays in the same position. On the floor. On that nice soft carpet. Her legs are stretched out in front of her. Her head hangs low. She is a collapsed marionette. But who will pick up the strings and give her life again? Who will manipulate her now? Jack is no master puppeteer, but at least he spun her round and made her dance, for a while. Yes, she danced in that brief romance, and as she did so, she had no idea. No idea he had such evil in his hands, no idea the depth of the savagery, but it was all there in his eyes, as he beat that man, beat him till hot blood dried before her on the hard mud of that pernicious place. The scene replays over and over in her head. It will never go away. How could it? It’s going to take some amount of therapy, or some amount of alcohol or drugs, to obliterate it. She can still hear the crack of rock on skull, the quake that ran through her and for several seconds stopped her heart from beating; the aftermath is just as potent, tremors up and down her spine now. How can she get away from this?”
December 11, 2014
A limited print edition of GIFTS is now also available here: http://www.bookdepository.com/Gifts-Betimes-Books/9780992967444
Free delivery worldwide!
December 3, 2014
From “Be Good for Goodness Sake” by Colin O’Sullivan:
“It is Christmas Day and they are having Christmas dinner, and Anita is trying her best to enjoy herself, trying to acclimatise. But the dreams keep coming back to her, the nightmares, the flashbacks, she doesn’t even have to be asleep, all she needs to do is stare blankly at the wall or the ceiling and the images play there, again, and again. It was this time, this holiday season, all those years ago. Anita watches the carving of the meat and notices how sharp the knife is and her skin tingles.”
November 27, 2014
November 24, 2014
Been struck down with the neck hernia thingy again, thus the posts here have been a bit scant.
Never mind, I’m still rifling though old poems and stories and casting them out to see where they land. Who knows, there may be a “Collected Poetry” book someday, or a “Complete Shorter Fiction of”…you never know.
Here’s a poem, from the mid-nineties I reckon. Another one about rain (must be the Irishman in me).
Outside your Bedroom Window in the Rain
a warm blanket,
your rich black hair
festoons the pillow.
in home things:
the soft rug that
takes to your toes,
every now and then,
the grandfather clock
and its quaint chime.
No need to stir
upping my umbrella.
Rain beats a thousand rhythms,
we’re both as sheltered.
Tonight you do not hear my puddle dance,
tomorrow you will not know my…
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