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All Along the Echo by Danny Denton: Metaphysical take on a difficult job

Author’s second novel follows an old-hand Cork call-in talk radio presenter

All Along the Echo
All Along the Echo
Author: Danny Denton
ISBN-13: 978-1838955533
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Guideline Price: £14.99

I have avoided ever attempting to write fiction about the job that I’ve done for the past 30 years now (radio presenter – mostly music, occasionally speech), mostly because the nuts and bolts of it can be, almost without exception, incredibly dull. I would never even want to read a novel set in my work world.

Danny Denton’s second novel, which follows The Earlie King & the Kid in Yellow – his gangster story set in a post-apocalyptic flooded Dublin – has proven me very wrong.

Tony Cooney is an old-hand Cork call-in talk radio presenter of the type that almost every local station in Ireland has. He deals with calls about graffiti artists; checks in on a regular caller who has stage-four ovarian cancer; does the hourly cash call competition. His long marriage is strained and his daughter has mental health problems. On the other side of the glass, his young producer Lou is dealing with her father’s worsening alcoholism and wants to have kids, but her girlfriend is less convinced.

So far so normal. But from the beginning the transcripts of Tony’s call-in show and sections of their lives become intercut for us with two disembodied Beckettian radio play “first and second” voices, who talk about the story, random number sequences, philosophical issues, even what and where they are. (They’re not sure – the first voice describes them as “two souls out here in the void . . . in self-isolation I suppose”.)


Tony’s show is taken on the road nationally by a competition, giving Lou the time away to reassess her relationship and Tony the time to consider responding to the email from an old flame.

The first voice says “they call it ‘dead air’, but silence isn’t the lack of sound; it’s a murmur, all sounds distant at once . . .”. Silence on radio exceptionally so.

Danny Denton has done something magical here, maybe even a little metaphysical – taken the very everyday ordinary burble of what so many of us do for a living and turned it into something wonderful.