Garry O’Connor, in his memoir The Vagabond Lover, unveils the father-son dispute
without sentimentality, with its general mess of domestic and family life, of which
Cavan O’Connor was the head. Revealed – in this searing, honest, dark revelation
– are the miserable depths the sweet singer of lyrical song plumbed, and remorselessly
so. O’Connor fils does not spare the reader, refusing to gloss over the traumas and
crises of family conflict, as they run in parallel to his own fortunes and vicissitudes.
He is dispassionate with the biographical detail, yet impassioned enough to recall
one of his own plays, penned in his Cambridge youth, where the father Cavan is reimagined.
In fiction as in life he is cast as the pivotal character in a family drama painful
in its climaxes. Overarching is a first ever account of those Cambridge years, peopled
with familiar icons of twenty-first-century culture. It’s a fast-moving, two-pronged
probe into the nature of celebrity, arriving at a profound resolution as the author
shrugs off the flaws and setbacks packaged as part of the celebrity deal.