Gerald O'Connor is a native Corkonian, currently living in Dublin with his long-term partner, Rosemarie, along with their three children. He writes character-driven novels of various genres by night and is a dentist by day. When he isn't glued to the keyboard, he enjoys sci-fi films, spending time with his family and being anywhere in sight of the sea. He is currently working on his second novel The Tanist which is due for completion soon.
The Origins of Benjamin Hackettby Gerald M. O'Connor
All families have secrets. Most go untold...
In the summer of '96, Benjamin Hackett has come of age, technically. And in the midst of the celebratory hangover, his world is whipped out from under his feet.
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"O'Connor's lilting prose beautifies his tale [as he] tackles a serious theme of forlornness with sincerity, buoyancy, and wit." --Kirkus Reviews
All families have secrets. Most go untold...
In the summer of '96, Benjamin Hackett has come of age, technically. And in the midst of the celebratory hangover, his world is whipped out from under his feet. His parents have finally shared their lifelong secret with him; he's adopted.
At the age of eighteen, the boy still has some growing up to do, and with the help of JJ, his loquacious consigliore and bodyguard, he embarks on an adventure that'll put to bed a lifetime of lies.
Over the course of five days, they find themselves caught up in the darker side of Cork. But when they sweep through the misfits blocking their way and finally discover the truth of it...now that's the greatest shock of all.
The Origins of Benjamin Hackett is a tender tale of heartache and displacement told through a wry and courageous voice. Set in Ireland, it's a timely reminder that the world hasn't moved on just as fast as we fancy. Now, in this emotionally charged story, Gerald O'Connor explores conditioned guilt and its consequences in a country still hiding from the sins of its past.
Praise for THE ORIGINS OF BENJAMIN HACKETT...
"The Origins of Benjamin Hackett by Gerald O'Connor is a raucous and riotous coming of age story that is brutal, tender and hilarious." -- Paul D. Brazill, author of A Case of Noir and Guns of Brixton
"O'Connor doles out killer dialogue that adds oodles of character to this hero's journey. Told with the lilt and panache of Joseph O'Connor and Dermot Bolger in their novels of the '90s, Gerald O'Connor is the new and improved voice we've been waiting for." -- Gerard Brennan, author of Undercover and Wee Rockets
"Visceral writing that inherits a long Irish tradition. O'Connor's narrative contains sharp characterisation, and has an assured voice, while dramatising conditioned guilt with humour and style." -- Richard Godwin, author of Apostle Rising, Mr. Glamour and One Lost Summer and others
"If you're expecting the usual coming-of-age tale, you're in for a big shock. This is a tale big on heart and one which the author, Gerald O'Connor, has hied religiously to the advice of Harry Crews for writers, to 'leave out the parts readers skip.' None of those parts remain in these pages. An auspicious debut!" -- Les Edgerton, author of The Death of Tarpons, The Bitch, The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping, Bomb, and others
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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite “'You’re adopted,' she said, quick as you like, and slapped her hands over her mouth. The words had barely reached my ears when everything went north of normal. Mam erupted into a shaking mess of tears. Dad recoiled with a feverish look to him; his ruddy face deepening to purple and his eyes enlarging to the size of cue balls.” The Origins of Benjamin Hackett by Gerald M. O'Connor is a refreshing coming of age story that is sentimental, bold and hilarious at the same time. Set in Ireland in the summer of '96, 18-year-old Benjamin Hackett finds out that he was adopted. He decides to look for his birth parents and drags his friend JJ with him, traveling all over Cork city while facing unexpected problems along the way. If you think you’ll find another typical coming of age tale among the pages of The Origins of Benjamin Hackett, it’s best to leave your expectations at the door. O'Connor can definitely make readers feel the heavy past of the Irish land which doesn’t just serve as a mere background for the story. That said, despite the episodic heaviness and contemplation, the story isn’t without its heartwarming, funny and respectable moments, making it fascinating and enjoyable to read. O’Connor’s vivid prose is perhaps even more perceptive in quirky moments, and the plot has solid and unpredictable twists. All in all, this is an unforeseen and profoundly moving tale from O’Connor, a satisfying read where the story concludes with a fitting ending.
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (03/17) Article first published as Book Review: ‘The Origins of Benjamin Hackett’ by Gerald M. O’Connor on Blogcritics. “The Origins of Benjamin Hackett,” by Gerald M. O’Connor is a hilarious coming of age tale that takes place in Cork, Ireland, and is quite unlike any coming of age story I’ve ever read. When Benjamin Hackett turned eighteen years old, his parents rather unceremoniously blurt out that he is adopted. Such begins Benjamin’s search for his real parents, if for no other reason than to punch them in the noses! The journey starts with a visit to Father Brogan, who directs Benjamin to the Barnamire Convent for answers. Benjamin enlists the aid of his best friend, JJ – one, because he has a car, and two, because he’s just an all-around good guy who can’t turn down a friend in need. The duo soon find themselves up to their necks in trouble, averting one disaster after another in their quest for the truth. From the dealings of a dangerous gangster with no sense of humor, to the trials of a cranky Mother Superior, the guys have to overcome numerous, and sometimes near fatal, obstacles in their path. At the end of the hunt, what will Benjamin make of all that’s transpired? What an engaging, entertaining read! The words flow effortlessly across the pages, yet with dynamic presence. Not one single word is unnecessary or excessive – each one adds to the brilliance of the story. I love sharp, witty writing, and this story is full of crafty dialogue between the characters. The banter is so off-the-charts funny, I often found myself laughing aloud, and getting the strangest looks from my husband, to which I replied, “you just need to read it to appreciate it.” Honestly, I struggled with wanting to stop and memorize some of the humorous phrases for later use, and staying in the story – of course, I stayed glued to the pages – I just couldn’t help myself! Besides, some of this stuff you just can’t pull off with an American accent! While the writing is brilliant, the characters are the shining stars, elevating this already phenomenal story to even greater heights. So relatable and genuine, it was easy to feel connected with all of the characters, from the ill-fated protagonists, to the bit-part characters. Don’t assume to know how this story will play out – the twists and turns will keep readers continually guessing as to how Benjamin will fare in the end. I love that the story includes a bit of everything – drama, love, loss, suspense, and competition, all while enveloping readers deep into the settings along the coast and the countryside of Ireland. It’s hard to believe “The Origins of Benjamin Hackett” is Gerald O’Connor’s first novel. With the exceptional writing, the well-developed characters, and fantastic storyline, it seems this author has a natural gift, and I look forward to reading more of his work. Well done!