From a brilliant new voice in Irish fiction, He Is Mine and I Have No Other is a dark, intense and gripping debut about the overwhelming nature of first love and about the devastating power of buried secrets
‘I was frightened of him in a way – of his grief, his loneliness – for he looked like the loneliest person on earth just then … the type of boy who wondered about things, as I did, who broke his heart wondering about things …’
In 1990s-small-town Ireland, amid the sweaty school discos and first fumblings of adolescence, fifteen-year-old Lani Devine falls in love with Leon Brady, whose mother is buried in the cemetery next to Lani’s house.
Lani is haunted by the stories of thirty-five orphaned girls, buried in an unmarked grave near Leon’s mother. As the love story unfolds, and then unravels, it becomes clear that Leon too is haunted – by a brutal family tragedy that has left scars much more than skin-deep.
He Is Mine and I Have No Other is a captivating, eerie and atmospheric novel about the obsessive power of first love, about the claustrophobia a tight-knit family and community can cause, and about buried secrets and the havoc they wreak.
“He Is Mine And I Have No Other is a book of secrets, and it burns with the sadness and starkness particular to lives forced into secrecy and silence. And yet there is, too, in this story a lucid and beautiful happiness, fragile though it may be; the happiness of being young, and in love, and of finding that love returned. Rebecca O’Connor captures vividly the small triumphs and catastrophes of being a teenage girl in rural Ireland, but in the further darkness to which she reaches is a truth for all generations”
Belinda Mckeon, Author Of Solace And Tender
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“A tender portrait of adolescence in all its rawness and sensitivity … This is both a love story and, in a sense, a ghost story. It is a small, self-contained thing, spare and unembellished in its prose style and … This extreme lightness of touch gives He Is Mine and I Have No Other a certain elegiac grace”
“I adored He is Mine and I Have No Other … Amazing, heartbreaking, brilliantly done”
Donal Ryan, Author Of The Spinning Heart And All We Shall Know
“Captures, with uncanny precision, the sheer ferociousness of teenage desire … An evocative, atmospheric and thought-provoking read”
irish Independent On Sunday
“God, this book is brilliant. It sends you, helter-skelter, back to life as a fifteen-year-old and all the intensity of that age. A love story set against an undercurrent of untold tragedy. Vivid and utterly compelling, this book had me torn between racing on and stopping to marvel at beautifully crafted lines”
Jess Kidd, Author Of Himself And The Hoarder
Rebecca O’Connor’s first collection of poetry We’ll Sing Blackbird was shortlisted for the Shine/Strong Award. Her writing has appeared in the Guardian, the Spectator, Poetry Review and elsewhere. She was a writer in residence at the Wordsworth Trust, the Centre for British Romanticism and is a recipient of a Geoffrey Dearmer Prize. She is co-founder and publisher of The Moth magazine. She lives in County Cavan, Ireland. He Is Mine and I Have No Other is her first novel.
@RebeccaMoth | themothmagazine.com