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The Starved Lover Sings by Colin O’Sullivan


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How much can one land take? How much can one man take? What if the rains kept coming? What if the huge waves kept crashing in? What if the plates kept shifting and volcanoes kept up their choking spew?

What if neighbouring nations became more antagonistic and the rest of the world began to forget you?

It’s the not-too-distant-future and a certain Asian country is in physical and moral tatters. What was once a polite society has become fouled and corrupted. Part-time referee and full-time PE teacher, Tombo, stands in the middle of all this, trying to find fairness and balance in his own life, as things continue to crumble around him.

Added to his personal miseries – missing-presumed-dead daughter, eerily silent wife, unrequited lusts – comes the unwanted, unwarranted attention of two, mean-spirited, wrathful adolescent girls, who have decided that he is to be their “chosen one”.

Can this harangued Everyman battle against the forces that envelop him, or will he too fall to the whims of the new dystopia?

In this pulsing, provocative, visionary work, O’Sullivan couples his usual lyrical fervor with a philosophical acuity to present before us a trembling world that may not be too far away. Bold, risk-taking, wildly ambitious, formally daring, often a mix of the comic and macabre, it is marvelously inventive, full of wordplay and literary trickery. As well as being an absurd existential novel it is also a political satire, and a cautionary tale about what may lay ahead, therefore a novel very much for our times.

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“Colin O’Sullivan’s writing is an antic, mordant and perverse plunge into strange and unnerving worlds.”   –Colin Barrett

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