The Origins of Benjamin Hackett
by Gerald M. O’Connor
Genre: Coming Of Age
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 18, 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 M. O’Connor explores conditioned guilt and its consequences in a country still hiding from the sins of its past.
O’Connor’s book draws on a time when the Catholic Church in Ireland would quietly take children from mothers in convents and Magdalene Laundries and deposit them into new homes, making it nearly impossible for these kids to find their real parents. Attempts by children to find their birth parents were often blocked by a dark web of secrecy and bureaucracy that, in many ways, still continues to haunt the country today.
Brimming with unfathomable escapades, a motley crew of characters and a healthy serving of Irish humor, O’Connor’s book is steeped in Irish culture told in the inimitable Corkman’s brogue. Set in a time before the chaos of modern digital culture, The Origins of Benjamin Hackett takes a step back, allowing space for readers to escape and think about the realities of growing up in a family founded on a lie. In his stylish debut, O’Connor shows an amazing ability to paint heartbreak and longing that will keep readers thinking about The Origins of Benjamin Hackett long after they finish the story.
Advance 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 characterization, and has an assured voice, while dramatizing conditioned guilt with humor and style.”– Richard Godwin, author of Apostle Rising, Mr. Glamour, 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
GERALD M. 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.