Tuesday, 20 June 2017


The names went into the hat and the winner of the giveaway (book and Jupitery purse) is Fergal Lenehan. Congrats, Fergal!

Sunday, 18 June 2017


Two reviews today for the book - another joint one with June Caldwell, from Anne Cunningham in the Sunday Independent. Glowing. A more muted one from Kevin Power in the Sunday Business Post. Interesting the way the laud/loathe thing happens with reviewers over the same story :)

Click and zoom to read.

Saturday, 17 June 2017


Galway launch of Joyride to Jupiter in Rosie McGurran's Studio and Gallery
Bloomsday, 16th June 2017

Artist Gavin Lavelle, who launched the book with artist Úna Spain

Artist Deborah Watkins, me, writer Lisa Carey

Finbar with Michael

Clementine Lavelle, Liam Carey Spalding, Juno and pal

My sons Cúán and Finn, with their Dad, John Dillon

Me with some of the crowd

Some of the crowd in Rosie's gallery

Rosie McGurran welcomes us

Post launch mingling in the kitchen

Thursday, 15 June 2017


The Dublin launch of Joyride to Jupiter in the Gutter Book Shop
14th June 2017

With Lia Mills who gave a wonderful speech

With daughter Juno

With my first publisher Alan Hayes and writer Patrick Chapman

With my brother Ronan O'Connor

John Foyle et moi

Writer Niall McArdle

Writer Adam Trodd

Writers Catherine Dunne & Tanya Sweeney

John Foyle, writer Doreen Finn & Gutter bookshop owner Bob Johnston

My editor at New Island Dan Bolger

Wrtier Monica McInerney

Writer Lauren Foley

Monday, 12 June 2017


It's publication day for my new short story collection Joyride to Jupiter, whoop! It's already had two stellar reviews in The Sunday Times and Irish Times, and I have two launches this week, in Dublin the 14th and in Galway on Bloomsday, the 16th. ALL WELCOME for books, readings, wine, space-themed buns and chats!

To celebrate publication day I am giving away one copy of the book to a reader of this blog with a bonus gift of this cute little purse decorated with spacy joyriders to jupiter:

To enter, just leave a comment with your name (no anons, please) and a link to your blog, Twitter or Facebook, or your email address, so I can contact you if you win. I won't be chasing people to the ends of the earth (or Jupiter...) so please make yourself contactable when you enter :)

I will post to anywhere in the world. Draw will take place on Tuesday 20th June. Check back then to see if you've won and to send me your address. Good luck!

Saturday, 10 June 2017


Another cracker of a review for Joyride to Jupiter, this time from Houman Barekat in today's Irish Times. Delighted with it!
'This blending of wry, caustic irreverence and meditative poignancy is central to the success of O’Connor’s storytelling. The mix is just right: the internal monologues are exactly as long as they need to be; the humour is well-timed and effective. The dramatic moments, of which there are a fair few ... are rendered with unobtrusive deftness.' Meep!

Full text of the review:

Joyride to Jupiter review: a collection of skilfully crafted fictions
Houman Barekat

It is often said that smells can evoke memories more powerfully than sights or sounds. They crop up time and again in Nuala O’Connor’s short story collection, Joyride to Jupiter: the stench of fish guts on a quayside, the sour tang of hotel bedrooms, the soapy odour of an older couple’s bedroom, the mildewy pong of damp-ridden lodgings, the passing whiff of a familiar perfume. The protagonist of one story, Futuretense, writes marketing copy for fragrances. Her reflections on the suicide of her beloved brother, whose scent she helped him choose as a child, are interspersed with corny product blurbs, pointedly juxtaposing personal introspection with the vapid gibberish of commercial puff.

Many of these 19 stories – whose settings range from Dublin and obscure Co Mayo villages to Naples and the Copacabana – are concerned with loss or absence. Room 313 is about a Ukrainian cleaner who only gets to see her young daughter via Skype, while Squidinky tells of a tattooist grieving for her partner: “I am lonely, it’s true, but it’s more more that – I’m alone.” This melancholic timbre is animated by bursts of ironic wit and sprinklings of bawdy humour.

Affairs and infidelities abound. The narrator of Consolata catches her father having sex with a nun (“As I approached I heard a moist slap-slap . . .) and is compelled to keep quiet about it. In Mayo Oh Mayo, a young Irishwoman’s feelings for her American lover dissipate into indifferent contempt, concluding that “there is no getting to the bottom of the man because there are no depths to flounder in”. In Napoli Abú a jaded singleton speaks of her regret at having diminished the frisson of her affair with a married man by googling his wife.

O’Connor does a fine line in unsympathetic narrators who fire off withering put-downs with provocative insouciance. The narrator of The Donor, for example, describes a woman as having “a reality TV face; one of those faces that drips tears when her dough fails to prove, or her house mates vote her out”. Xavier, a sperm donor, is surreptitiously scoping out his biological son by befriending his mother.

At the start of this dubious undertaking he is flush with the optimism and misplaced paternal zeal, but his enthusiasm soon gives way to disappointment and disgust, to the point that the sight of the boy playing with his dog is described thus: “Ludo hunkered down and began to talk absolute shite to the mutt . . .” The narration here is in the third person, but it internalises Xavier’s perspective in a breezily scathing indirect speech.

In Tinnycross, a pair of estranged brothers squabble over their inheritance following the deaths of their parents. Revisiting his rural childhood home elicits, in one of them, a pang of nostalgia for “that precious, pellucid place of scant worldly pain”. He wonders: “Is it possible . . . to be in love with a field? . . . And if it is possible, is it wise?”

In the volume’s title story, the narrator’s dementia-stricken wife regresses to child-like capriciousness: she takes to wearing a tracksuit and buys a garish teeny eyeshadow called Joyride to Jupiter; when her daughter scoffs at this, she gives her a slap.

Both of these tales brim with wistful affection and human warmth. O’Connor moves seamlessly from this to a jovially sardonic portrait of coupledom in Penny and Leo Married Bliss, whose narrator has just trashed her errant boyfriend’s laptop in elaborate fashion (“I knew he was watching that auld porno and I was having none of it”) and is idly pining after the local priest: “God forgive me but I’d bounce up and down on Father Hugh Boylan all night, given a chance.”

This blending of wry, caustic irreverence and meditative poignancy is central to the success of O’Connor’s storytelling. The mix is just right: the internal monologues are exactly as long as they need to be; the humour is well-timed and effective. The dramatic moments, of which there are a fair few – including an illicit lesbian dalliance and the murder of a would-be paedophile by his wife – are rendered with unobtrusive deftness.

O’Connor’s fourth novel is due out in 2018; if these skilfully crafted fictions are anything to go by, it will be one to look out for.