For twenty five years, Michael and Caitlin have met, as lovers, once a month in Coney Island. Over the course of a single January day, O’Callaghan’s novel traces the trajectory of their affair and the reasons behind their unhappy marriages. A study of great love, profound sadness and hard choices, My Coney Island Baby is destined to be one of the novels of the year, from an author described by Edna O’Brien as “a welcome voice to the pantheon of new Irish writing”.
Recommended by Brian Blacker, Dubray Grafton St.
On a bitterly cold winter's afternoon, Michael and Caitlin escape their unhappy marriages to keep an illicit rendez-vous. Once a month, for the past quarter of a century, Coney Island has been their haven.
These precious, hidden hours are their only nourishment. But now, amid the howling of an angry snowstorm, the shut-down, out-of-season resort feels like the edge of the world. And their lives, suddenly, are on the brink - with news of serious illness on one side, and a move to the Midwest on the other. And so, after half a lifetime spent in secret, certain long-avoided facts need to be faced, consequences examined, decisions made, and - perhaps - chances finally taken.
A quiet, intense drama of late-flowering intimacy, My Coney Island Baby condenses, within the course of a single day, the histories, landscapes, tragedies and moments of wonder that constitute the lives of two people who, although born worlds apart, have been drawn together.
O'Callaghan, a masterful prose stylist, has created a devastatingly powerful novel about two unforgettable characters and the choices they have made. This is a book full of sorrow, but also radiant with beauty, longing and breathless desire.