Between the Ears

Colm O’Connor casts from the start an irresistible bait, with passages of prose as refined as a vintage wine. Recommended.



Colm O’Connor’s Between the Ears is in the great tradition of the Irish comic novel from The Crock of Gold to At Swim-Two-Birds to Puckoon, in the way the comedy arises from linguistic confusion: what might be pretentiously called ‘creative misprision’. It is a world in which ‘an Armani pin-striped suit’ can be heard as ‘O’Mahony’s pin-striped suit’, and a roaring trade can be heard howling a mile away. Such auditory and metaphorical confusions in inconclusive conversation occur on every page. The examination of the reported crime does not get anywhere; but it leaves you with your head and your ears ringing, and – as the book might say – killing yourself laughing.’

Bernard O’Donoghue

Emeritus Professor of English Literature, Oxford University

Winner of the Whitbread Prize for Poetry