Sean O'Reilly (2014 edition)
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Watermark tells the story of Veronica, a young woman living on the edge of desire and reason in an unnamed Irish city. As with his three earlier books, Sean O’Reilly proves himself here to be a genuine prose stylist, possessed of a uniquely dark and powerful vision of our contemporary culture.
Combining formal experimentation with brave and beautiful storytelling, Watermark was the first book published by The Stinging Fly Press in May 2005. A virtuoso performance, it helped seal O’Reilly’s reputation as one of Ireland’s most exciting writers.
Sean O'Reilly is the author of the short story collection, Curfew and Other Stories, and the novels, Love and Sleep and The Swing of Things. He lives in Dublin where he directs The Stinging Fly Fiction workshop and is a contributing editor at the magazine.
Also by Sean O'Reilly on our site:
"People who think poetry or poetically-charged prose should be all positive thoughts will have a rollercoaster ride of it here. But poetry this certainly is, and not despite but because of its earthiness, its earthedness, its refusal to look away. This short, uncomfortable, sometimes brutal, hugely important book is a triumph."
-The Irish Independent
"It hurts nicely in the head now to read Sean O'Reilly. The brain reels with impressions and evocations barely hinted at before receding in the agglutination of new ones. The temples pulse from tracing verbal hints, plot outlines and character silhouettes. The eyes strain from imagistic short phrases and headily descriptive long lines that roll on without the brakes of proper punctuation. It all amounts to a kind of you-fill-in-the-gaps vertigo generated by a devotee of innovative and complex prose who is simultaneously one of our least condescending writers. . . a moving celebration, beyond mere exoticism, of one woman's bodily appetites. Read and reread and reach for your superlatives: in all senses, Watermark is a sheer physical experience."
-The Irish Times
"There is a cumulative, incantatory power to the sentences... beautifully bludgeoning language, which hammers at us and hammers, and will draw blood from any human reader."
-Keith Ridgway, author of Hawthorn & Child