The Salesman – Joseph O’Connor

Joseph O'Connor - The Salesman

Joseph O'Connor - The Salesman

Joseph O’Connor became really famous in this country when the Richard & Judy Book Club championed his book Star Of The Sea and it shot to the top of the bestseller charts.

Anyone who read that and thought they should check out some of his other writings would be surprised by the likes of Inishowen and my personal favourite The Salesman.

O’Connor is, in case you’re interested, the brother of singer Sinead – that doesn’t add anything to the review, just a useless piece of trivia.

Anyway, the book. Well, it’s set in Dublin in 1994 and is about Billy Sweeney, a satellite salesman (which dates it, I guess, but that’s kinda of irrelevant).

It starts of fairly normally. Billy has a daughter in hospital and, wracked by guilt, he goes off in search of pursuit of her attacker.

Sounds like a pretty straightforward tale of revenge, but there are more twists and turns than in many a proper detective thriller. And the thing is, this isn’t a genre book, it’s a story about humanity, people and how we tick.

There’s a psychological element to the book and also a darkly comic side. It proves how life can change just like that and that you should never wish too hard for what you want.

O’Connor’s writing is clever, taut but also poetic. He manages to conjure up despair, humour and beauty in the same paragraph – no mean feat. The Salesman is a truly emotional rollercoaster but one that keeps you laughing and wincing at the same time.

If you read Star Of The Sea and hated it, then try this because you won’t believe it’s by the same author.

If you read Star Of The Sea and loved it, then give this a go just to see how varied great authors can be.


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