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The Things We Lose, The Things We Leave Behind

The Things We Lose, The Things We Leave Behind
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A towering collection of short stories from one of the new Irish masters of the grenre, Corkman, Billy O’Callaghan.

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The Things We Lose, the Things We Leave Behind is a new collection by Billy O’Callaghan that explores everyday existence in the aftermath of cataclysms both subtle and overt.

The characters who populate these stories are people afflicted by life and circumstance, hauled from some idyll and confronted with such real world problems as divorce, miscarriage, cancer, desertion, bereavement and the disintegration of love.

From the tale of an institutionalised orphan boy in 1950s Ireland sold into servitude as a farm labourer, to the Sevillian matador who in a single misstep has fallen into a life of obscurity, and on through to the poignant title story of a man returning to his island home to see again the child that he abandoned, these are stories about picking up the shattered pieces and finding among them some glint of value, and some way to survive.

In The Second Coming, Yeats wrote: “Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold.” Yet here the reader is offered evidence to the contrary, with the suggestion that the human heart boasts extraordinary resilience and is possessed of an ability to find redemption in the most unexpected of places. In the face of tragedy we re-evaluate ourselves. We bear the guilt, sorrow and regret for the things we have lost or given up, we seek the light, and we endure. These thirteen stories attempt to illuminate the darkness.


I know of no writer on either side of the Atlantic who is better at exploring the human spirit under assault than Billy OCallaghan. The stories in The Things We Lose, the Things We Leave Behind are at once harrowing and uplifting, achingly sad and surpassingly beautiful. OCallaghan is a treasure of the English language.‘ – Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

A ‘masterclass in understatement – Irish Independent

It is a book which reads as both modern and traditional…Gifted with a near anthropological eye, OíCallaghan uses his stories to interrogate not just the post-Tiger zeitgeist but also the sacred nature of love and marriage, along with the long-standing Irish relationship to landscape and the sea. – Irish Examiner


Billy O’Callaghan


B-format, paperback





Release Date


Additional Information

Weight .293 g
Dimensions 198 x 129 x 19 mm


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