Posts tagged ‘KILLARNEY’
April 16, 2018
In Tom Russell’s song about Lightnin’ Hopkins, ‘Scars on His Ankles,” he writes of Lightnin’s scars on his ankles where the chain from the chain gang cut his skin. In Colin O’Sullivan’s jewel of a first novel, Killarney Blues, winner of the “Prix Mystere de la critique,” in France, the main characters also have scars, but they are the emotional ones, ones that were thought to be buried, ones that lie scratching deep beneath the surface of their skin, never to be forgotten.
Thirty year old Bernard Dunphy is a jarvey by trade, driving a horse-carriage, that carries the many tourists, who flock to the lovely Irish town of Killarney each year. Pulled by his old worn-out, dying, but gallant horse, Ninny, Bernard is considered by most a town weirdo. Gap-toothed, overweight, and grubby in his old tobacco and sweat stained black coat, that he wears on even the warmest of days. Walking alone through the town, large headphones in place, listening and mumbling along with the likes of blues-man Son House, as his raw, passionate, stomping sound tears up out of his body and soul, filling Bernard’s ears. “That rhythm is the beat of Bernard’s heart.”
He knows all the old blues-men, from Muddy Waters to Howling Wolf, Sleepy Ma Rainey, John Estes, and Robert Johnson. They are his heroes, and Bernard cannot get enough of them. In his small room alone at home with his guitar and voice, he records blues songs, then gives them to his childhood crush, and love of his life, the beautiful Marian, though she is less than pleased about it. In fact, her two childhood friends, Cathy and Mags, delight in teasing her relentlessly about poor old goofy Bernard’s ongoing devotion to her.
Bernard’s other childhood friend is the handsome, popular footballer, heavy drinker and ladies man, Jack Moriarty. Jack is supposed to be Mags steady, but he is spending a lot of bed time with her best friend Cathy behind Marian’s back. Bernard and Jack share a dark secret that remains a scar on their souls from a terrible night back when they were little boys, young and innocent. A terrible night that also scared Bernard’s father John Dunfey, who also loved the blues and taught Bernard to play, and his mother, Brigid, who smothers Bernard with love and devotion, since her husband John Dunfey’s questionable death by drowning in the lake. They only have each other, a home that once held lovely memories, but also a never-mentioned shameful secret. A secret that during this green, glorious summer will finally scratch through their skins, and alter all their lives.
The green and blue lake beauty of Killarney, Ireland, runs through this wonderfully written novel, and the blues are the glue that holds it all together. Colin O’Sullivan writes gloriously. Hope, frailty, sadness, joy, resilience and surprise. The novel jumps back and forth in time and character viewpoints, but never once does it alter in any way the grand flow of this lyrical and compelling story as it moves forward. The reader carried along steadily, and then hurriedly, as the pages fly by a bit faster, eyes reading in a hurry to find out what happens next, until finally the last paragraph, and a large smile spreads across the face.
Killarney Blues is what the pleasure of reading a totally enjoyable novel is all about.
–Marvin Minkler, Modern First Editions
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 €
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
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
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 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.”
October 11, 2014
I wrote two poems about budgies yesterday but somehow managed to accidentally delete them both. The poems were about how I’m not, repeat not, having a nervous breakdown. Although after losing both files I may rethink the whole not having a nervous breakdown thing…
There was a time when I wrote happy romantic little ditties. Like the one below, called From a Bunch.
In the meantime I’ll try and retrieve the poems (about the angry and obsessed budgies) from the bowels of the computer (both birds were called Franz) and also locate a poem I wrote on a napkin last week called Dead Flies. Psychiatrist’s couch here I come!
(Too much time listening to Swans, methinks)
Every little flower
and every myth
soon I will
tread among the weeds
and pick someone like you.
For a riveting novel about music and people’s secrets and relationships and drama…
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July 29, 2014
Thoughtful and beautiful review of KILLARNEY BLUES
The sun on the lake sparkles. Only a laden, dark cloud in the distance has the audacity to ruin the perfect picture. Bernard has one eye on it, knows how things loom, how those clouds can hover, then open and pour, drench, saturate. But not yet. There’s a few more hours of this brightness, and he’s intent on enjoying it.
He’s very happy to be sitting out in it with this pretty American by his side: Laura. Laura from Texas. Blue-eyed. Bouncy. Beautiful. They both sit on the edge of the main pier and stare out at the lake, the sound of gentle lapping under their feet. It’s almost idyllic. So many scenes like this can be found in spots all over Killarney. Some famous, well-trodden places. Some hidden treasures that await discovery.
This is just one of the frequented runs, but yes, it is, for the most part, an…
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