New Books: Information & Extracts

Where Have You Been?

Joseph O'Connor
Publisher
Harvill Secker
Price
£12.99
ISBN
9781846555725

'Get up there, Martin Thornton and give us a song,' shouted Sean Moylan to the bride's father. 'I will not indeed. I've no voice on me these days. Don't be mocking the afflicted.'

'"Revenge for Skibbereen",' someone cried out. '"The Boys of the Old Brigade",' another called. But the bride's father shook his head and waved down the requests.

'Let's get the singing over,' a male voice shouted, 'because there's a match on soon that I want to watch!' Everyone laughed.

'Martin Thornton, get up for the love of Christ,' Moylan yelled again. People cheered and rattled their forks against their glasses.

'Jesus, all right, all right,' the bride's father sighed, 'I'll give you a quick few verses. Don't say youse weren't warned.'

He stood up to a chorus of whoops and whistles. The bridesmaid handed him a microphone. He pulled up the sleeve of his jacket and made a great show of looking at his watch.

'Well, Ireland do battle with England in a few minutes,' he said, with a blushing grin. 'God knows, it's not the first time in history that happened.'

'Nor the last,' someone shouted down the back. He smiled grimly and nodded.

'And I suppose, when you think about it, with Aisling and Steve, that's another wee match between Ireland and England.' People laughed and clapped appreciatively at the well-rehearsed joke. 'Ten to one I know who's going to win both of them, too,' he said, to more laughter.