Product Details

$26.00  $24.18
Europa Editions
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.4 X 1.5 inches | 1.35 pounds

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About the Author

Joseph O'Connor was born in Dublin. He is the author of nine novels, two collections of short stories, and a number of bestselling works of non-fiction. He has also written film scripts and radio and stage-plays. His novel Star of the Sea was an international bestseller, selling more than a million copies and being published in 38 languages. It won France's Prix Millepages, Italy's Premio Acerbi, the Irish Post Award for Fiction, the Nielsen Bookscan Golden Book Award, an American Library Association Award, the Hennessy/Sunday Tribune Hall of Fame Award, and the Prix Litteraire Zepter for European Novel of the Year.
In 2009 he was the Harman Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Baruch College, City University of New York. He holds an honorary Doctorate in Literature from University College Dublin, and received the Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Contribution to Irish Literature in 2012. He lives in Ireland and is the Inaugural Frank McCourt Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Limerick.


"I am a huge fan [of Shadowplay]. [...] It's rich, dense and beautifully written."--Brendan Coyle, star of Downton Abbey, in The Chicago Tribune

★ "An affectionate, tender story about everyday heroism, secret selves, and triumphs and tragedies on stage and in life and the many kinds of love that bind us together."--Library Journal (Starred Review)

★ "O'Connor's characters are magnificently realized...This novel blows the dust off its Victorian trappings and brings them to scintillating life."--Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"Effervescent...Shadowplay is far more than a frothy entertainment. Subtly drawn and intensely affecting, this portrayal of accidental friendship, enduring love, frustrated ambition and, dare we say it, the alchemy of acting, recalls, in its effortless grace, those 19th-century novels that made readers of us all."--The Wall Street Journal

"A vibrantly imaginative narrative of passion, intrigue and literary ambition."--The New York Times Book Review

"A marvelous novel...Magnificent."--Suzie Feay, Financial Times

"Joseph O'Connor's graceful, insightful writing is immediately apparent...O'Connor's engrossing story is wonderfully well served by the superb narration."--BookTrib

"A thoughtful exploration of the tangled nature of desire and commitment."--Kirkus Reviews

"There are few living writers who can take us back in time so assuredly, with such sensual density, through such gorgeous sentences. Joseph O'Connor is a wonder, and Shadowplay is a triumph."--Peter Carey, author of Parrot and Olivier in America

"Shadowplay is an absolutely magnificent book. It's not just a portrait of Bram Stoker, but a novel of the here and now. This is one of the best books of the year, anywhere."--Colum McCann, Irish Independent, Books of the Year

"Resurrecting Victorian theatre in all its gaudy wizardry [...] O'Connor's panache and subtlety wonderfully match the gusto and creative finesse of the High Victorian world he dazzlingly evokes."--The Sunday Times, a 2019 Best Novel of the Year

"Briskly paced, a plot elegantly clockworked, full of razor sharp insights on what it means just to be human, atmosphere spilling off the pages like early morning fog and full of gorgeous sentences that pulled me up short."--Rick O'Shea, RTÉ, Best Books of 2019

"As much as this is a hugely entertaining book about the grand scope of friendship and love, it is also, movingly--at times, agonizingly--a story of transience, loss and true loyalty."--Sadie Jones, The Guardian

"An ingenious novel . . . O'Connor's work is hugely impressive and utterly haunting."--The Sunday Mirror

"A gorgeous, gorgeous book . . . A thing of great beauty."--Ryan Tubridy, RTÉ Radio

"A mesmerizing read, beautifully researched."--Sunday Independent

"Shadowplay totally swept me away . . . It's a bit like Moulin Rouge meets Dracula. I absolutely loved it."--Oliver Callan, Irish Examiner

"Intensely atmospheric . . . As a romp through Ripper-ravaged London, Shadowplay is mightily entertaining. But as a meditation on hidden sexuality, it is powerful and poignant."--The Literary Review

"O'Connor is one of the best writers working today."--Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple

"Shadowplay is wonderful. The writing is beautiful."--Tony Award-winning actor, Derek Jacobi

"Seriously fascinating [. . .] Shadowplay displays a brilliant ear for tone and nuance, and a wonderful talent for evoking and creating drama."--Colm Toibin, author of Brooklyn

"Joseph O'Connor is a very great artist and storyteller. The quotient of enjoyment in his extraordinary new novel is stupendous."--Sebastian Barry, author of The Secret Scripture

"A great writer performing Olympian literary storytelling."--Bob Geldof

"A thrilling novel, exquisitely contrived to show the characters whose loves and lives inspired Dracula. A great tribute, and a work of art. Deeply affecting."--Essie Fox, author of The Somnambulist

"Atmospheric and evocative . . . [O'Connor] also manages to explore with verve, humour and acuity the public role and inner turmoil of the intriguing Bram Stoker."--Diarmaid Ferriter, The Irish Times, a 2019 Book of the Year

"A glorious romp through Victorian London."--Liz Nugent, The Irish Times

"O'Connor inhabits his characters with all the intensity of a method actor, re-creating an extraordinary world of creativity and self-doubt."--John Boyne, The Irish Times

"A witty, wry, astute and tender delight."--Martin Doyle, The Irish Times, Books of the Year 2019

"A sparkling historical novel . . . rich in wit and imagination."--The Daily Mail

"A hugely entertaining and atmospheric novel, one can almost smell the greasepaint."--Deborah Moggach, author of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

"[With Shadowplay] O'Connor offers a layered, intricately told historical drama."--The Herald

"In glorious sentences, Joseph O'Connor captures the essence of three very difference artistic temperaments in all their nobility and glorious absurdity."--Jake Kerridge, Sunday Express

"Ireland's greatest storyteller."--The Sunday Independent

"Like Joyce, O'Connor combines his panoramic range with a close eye to the grain and texture of the phrase ... An astonishingly accomplished writer."--Terry Eagleton, The Guardian

"A book-within-a-book of the highest caliber, it treads the boards from the dazzling spectacle of Shakespeare to the quiet desperation of everyday life. It's also occasionally, as befits a story of Dracula's creator, creepingly spooky... Shadowplay made me laugh, weep, and most importantly, begat a sense of intimately knowing its real-life muses: Abraham Stoker, Ellen Terry, and and Henry Irving."--Amanda Qassar, Warwick's, La Jolla, CA

"Well, this was just magnificent. I could read this book on a loop. Bram Stoker, theatre and actors, ghosts, and such vivid language, the perfect heady mix for a perfect historical novel."--Anton Bogomazov, Politics & Prose, Washington, DC

"If Joseph O'Connor was inspired by the theory that Bram Stoker based Dracula on his boss Henry Irving, then it's a delightful surprise that SHADOWPLAY became something even richer and stranger. Filled with eye-popping set pieces (Irving leaping into the audience as a rabid Hamlet, a bonkers cameo by black-teethed Oscar Wilde) and absurdly delicious dialogue, SHADOWPLAY succeeds far beyond its original premise. It plays perfectly to the cheap seats and boxes, raising from Stoker's frustrated life a host of themes: literary ambition, gothic horror, gender fluidity, Irishness, and the always-more-interesting drama occurring backstage."--Steve Iwanski, Charter Books, Rhode Island

"A wonderful read filled with one-line quips that are priceless. Interesting history for those of us who are unfamiliar with Victorian theater as well as a superbly written novel."--Laura Parsons, Island Bound Bookstore, Block Island, RI

"Shadowplay is an accomplished, compelling read."--The Herald

"Joseph O'Connor: What a writer!"--from Twitter, Sunday Times books editor, Andrew Holgate

"An absorbing tale."--Historical Novels Review