Almost the Same Blue: Captivating, high-octane debut collection

The detail of Irish author John O’Donnell’s writing is what makes the stories sing

John O’Donnell: quick to hook the reader with each tale

John O’Donnell: quick to hook the reader with each tale

Strap yourself in for a high-octane journey before opening John O’Donnell’s debut collection. The 15 short stories here are written with a flair for the dramatic, in keeping, perhaps, with O’Donnell’s day job as a well-known senior counsel in Dublin. (The author is also an award-winning poet, whose latest collection, Sunlight: New and Selected Poems, was published by Dedalus in 2018.) His stories have won him the Hennessy New Writing Award for emerging fiction and have been published in the Stinging Fly and the Hennessy Book of Irish Fiction, among others.

Some of these stories feature in Almost the Same Blue, a collection that ranges from moving, fully rounded pieces to tales more anecdotal in style. All of the stories, whether literary or commercial in nature, succeed in entertaining the reader. O’Donnell is not a writer who holds back. Many of the stories contain multiple tragic strains where the darker sides of human nature are examined. There are drunk revellers, grieving fathers, paramilitary murders – and that’s just in a single story.

The Irish Times
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