The Blog

Any resemblance is entirely coincidental…

By Bernard O'Keeffe

“This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental” We’ve all read them – those disclaimers in the front of novels that tell the reader that what … Read more

Live!: Why We Go Out.

By Bernard O'Keeffe

The first word in the title of Robert Elms’s excellent book – Live!:Why We Go Out — is interestingly ambiguous. ‘Live!’ can be taken as an exclamatory adjective describing the concert experience – in the flesh, immediate and happening – but it can also be read as an imperative verb. “Live!” says Elms, as if … Read more

Turning to Crime

By Bernard O'Keeffe

I hadn’t planned to turn to crime  when I stopped teaching but, to my surprise, it’s what I’ve ended up doing. Not committing it, you understand, but writing it – something that still, in some people’s eyes, comes to much the same thing. I’m still not exactly sure how this  happened, but I think the … Read more

Private Tutors

By Bernard O'Keeffe

‘Private tutoring is booming and someone’s making a killing…’ All parents want the best for their kids and many are prepared to do anything they can to secure it. And that includes paying for extra help. Extra help that will bring their kids up to scratch and get them the grades. Extra help that will … Read more

Introducing DI Garibaldi

By Bernard O'Keeffe

DI Garibaldi is the non-driving, country-music loving, poetry-quoting detective who makes his fictional debut in The Final Round . How did I create him? Where did he come from? Strangely, the first thing that came was the name – Garibaldi. That’s Garibaldi as in the biscuit and as in the key figure in the unification … Read more

Hanging out on Hydra with Leonard Cohen – Polly Samson’s ‘A Theatre for Dreamers’

By Bernard O'Keeffe

  I read ‘A Theatre for Dreamers’ in a couple of sittings, becoming so immersed in its sense of place and time that I almost forgot about the current state of the world. It may have helped that the novel is set in Hydra, a place to which I feel a strong emotional connection, and … Read more

Mind Your Language – A Poem

By Bernard O'Keeffe

              I’m a stickler for standards I watch my p’s and q’s And every other  letter Of the language that we use.   You might call me pedantic I prefer the word precise I stand up for correctness My distinctions are all nice.   Should you  imply, should you … Read more

Nick Hornby’s ‘State of The Union’ and The Guardian Crossword

By Bernard O'Keeffe

  Having read Lucy Mangan’s five star review in The Guardian – https://bit.ly/2lDUV58  I went into my viewing of Nick Hornby’s State of the Union determined to follow her advice not to binge it all in one sitting. I failed. Ten ten-minute dramas. I wolfed the whole lot down. Short-form comedy, I’m sure, is not meant … Read more

London Made Us by Robert Elms

By Bernard O'Keeffe

I feel great affinity with Robert Elms. This may be because I listen to him on BBC Radio London. It may be because we’re both the same age. It may be that both of us are at Loftus Road for most QPR home games. Or it may be a sense of shared roots. So, plenty … Read more

What I don’t get about Sally Rooney’s Normal People

By Bernard O'Keeffe

On the second page of Sally Rooney’s universally acclaimed, Booker- longlisted novel is the following paragraph: ‘He puts his hands in his pockets and suppresses an irritable sigh, but suppresses it with an audible intake of breath, so that it still sounds like a sigh.’ What? I get the hand in the pockets bit, but … Read more

Review of Roddy Doyle’s Smile

By Bernard O'Keeffe

WARNING: contains spoilers As soon as you reach the end of Roddy Doyle’s extraordinary novel, ‘Smile’, you’re tempted to go back and read it straight through again to work out whether you should have anticipated the narrative trick  Doyle has just pulled and whether or not the whole thing actually works. I have done just … Read more

Frank’s Last Invigilation – a short story

By Bernard O'Keeffe

  Frank’s Last Invigilation    When anyone asked Frank whether he was counting the days to retirement he would answer not with a smile or a yes but with a number. No countdown had ever excited him more and each morning he gleefully crossed another day off the list he kept in his diary. It … Read more