Philip Ó Ceallaigh

Works

Life
Lived in Romania for several years; issued Notes from a Turkish Whorehouse (2006), stories, acclaimed as vital new writing; The Pleasant Light of Day (2009), stories.

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Works
Notes from a Turkish Whorehouse (Dublin: Penguin Ireland 2006; London: Penguin 2007), 281pp., stories; The Pleasant Light of Day (Dublin: Penguin Ireland 2009), 272pp. [stories, incl. “In the Neighbourhood”, &c.]

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Criticism
Reviews incl. Eve Patten, ‘When time slows down’, review of The Pleasant Light of Day, in The Irish Times (21 Feb. 2009), Weekend Review, p.11.

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Commentary
Eve Patten, ‘When time slows down’, review of The Pleasant Light of Day, in The Irish Times (21 Feb. 2009), Weekend Review, p.11: "It is by no means as even or balanced a collection: despite its successful re-engagement of the preoccupations of Notes from a Turkish Whorehouse - post-communist tristesse, the feral, incidental nature of modern urban life - it lacks overall coherence and with its broader geographical diversity (now we’re in Texas, now Turkey, Andalusia, Georgia, Egypt ...) it risks passport-stamping at the expense of an achieved sense of place, straining sometimes towards a rather uncomfortable journalese. / But when individual tales work, they’re wonderful: quiet realisations held in the frame with the lightest of touches. Take the title story in particular, in which a father and his small son wander together through Cairo’s Museum of Antiquities, speculating with refreshing naivety on the vertiginous cross-currents of history. The prose here shows how good this author can be when he calms his imagery and allows time to spin out slowly in the narrative." (See full-text version in RICORSO Library, “Criticism > Reviews”, via index, or direct.)

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John Spain, ‘A rough guide to Eastern Europe’, review of The Pleasant Light of Day, in The Independent (14 March 2009): ‘O Ceallaigh is a long way from Holy Catholic Ireland. His short stories are rarely set here. And they have more than mere geographical distance ... they are imbued with a different sensibility, an independent way of thinking and a guilt-free physicality. [...] O Ceallaigh is clearly attracted by the elemental quality of life on the other side of Europe, a legacy of the communist past and something that has been lost in the confusion of consumerism in the west. He has travelled Kerouac style through the region and has lived in Romania for five or six years - the Bucharest apartment block from “In the Neighbourhood” [in Notes from a Turkish Whorehouse] is a setting he knows well and many of his stories seem to be autobiographical. [...] Apart from all the walking on the wilder side of Eastern Europe, which is fascinating in itself, O Ceallaigh is also a great writer and some stories are worth reading just for that quality. The title story, “The Pleasant Light of Day”, about a father and son, is an example, as is the opening story, “A Very Unsettled Summer”, about obsession after a relationship has ended. / O Ceallaigh has done it again. His rough guide to Eastern Europe, other places and internal spaces is a refreshing change from the same old, same old of most Irish short story writers. With the possible exception of Anne Enright, who has other concerns, it's the best collection since his last one.’[see full text in RICORSO Library, infra; or go online; 20.06.2009]

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