In Exile Billy O’Callaghan (Ireland), Mercier, 2008.
O’Callaghan’s short story collection takes an extended view of exile, exploring it as a separation of any sort from one’s sense of belonging. Exile figures in each story in some form, from a character’s exile from the sea, to the exile we can feel in broken relationships. The more successful stories take place on Irish islands and discuss the lives lived and lost there. The stories with different settings do not work quite as well but do add to the overall exploration of exile. I am already searching for O’Callaghan’s other collections as I found these stories challenging, intriguing, and very well-written.