We Are Not in the World: Lyrical storytelling of heart-wrenching events

Book review: Conor O’Callaghan’s prose cannot help but sing beautifully

A poet first, Conor O’Callaghan has spoken of the burden of inheritance of the Yeatsian singing line. File photograph: Eve O’Callaghan

A poet first, Conor O’Callaghan has spoken of the burden of inheritance of the Yeatsian singing line. File photograph: Eve O’Callaghan

As its title implies, We Are Not in the World inhabits a hazy purgatory – temporal, spatial and psychological. Heartbroken after the end of an affair with a married woman, Paddy dusts off an old HGV licence, borrows a lorry from an ailing friend and takes a job driving from England down through France.

Kitty, his 20-something daughter, comes along for the ride, disobeying the insurance company’s no-passenger rule. Kitty has suffered a terrible trauma – “the thing that we never mention” – the details of which are revealed as the story drives towards its denouement.

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