Presenting...the Fabulous O'Learys

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To win 10 copies of Caron Freeborn’s brilliantly funny and moving novel, please contact us below by 30 September. Once your group has read the book, we’d love to hear what you think – reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, etc, are welcome.

Caron will be available for online interviews or sometimes to appear in person.

About the book

Roll up, roll up, ladies and gentlemen, see the freaks in their natural habitat. Only cost you your bloody soul.

It is the 1980s: the theatre is crumbling, and show business is changing forever. When veteran actor Ken O’Leary retires, to the disgust of his eccentric, dependent family, they instinctively look to the mute and unendingly withdrawn Glen for salvation. Gentle, starving Delia and her ambitious actor boyfriend Eddie, sexy singer Raquel, circus aerial artist Lesley and a host of midgets, Tourette’s tics and managers squabble – bringing about family breaches, inappropriate sexual relationships, even death. As the family fractures, their eccentricities raise the question of what it means to be outside of the norm; to be different.

This is a book about disability – and a book not about disability at all.

About the book

“It’s about the pain of being alive. And yet it’s so so funny.” Marian Keyes, author of Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married, This Charming Man, The Woman Who Stole My Life, etc

“The O’Learys come crackling off the page; their speech has an authentic rhythm at the same time utterly strange. It’s like getting your ear in for a different music, and realising you knew it all along. On every page the language bites you, or licks your earlobe.” Michael Bywater, critic, columnist, and author of _Lost Worlds, and Big Babies

“Caron Freeborn’s novel is a magnificently tricky piece of work, at once subtle and riotous, poignant and funny. It is a glorious celebration of difference.” Joanne Limburg, author of The Woman Who Thought Too Much and A Want Of Kindness

“Vivid, empathetic and spikily witty, Presenting… The Fabulous O’Learys takes us on a turbulent voyage along familial tributaries, rich with irrepressible characters.” Daisy Black, Circus Performer in The Electric Rodeo Circus, Lili La Scala’s Another F*cking Variety Show, etc.

“There are books that entertain you, books you recommend to others and then, just occasionally, there are books that get under your skin and stay there. Perhaps it’s because each time you return to them, there’s something you recognise with delight and yet so much else to find. Presenting the Fabulous O’ Learys is such a book.” Elizabeth Speller, author of The First Of July, Following Hadrian, The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton, etc

About the author

Caron Freeborn grew up in the new town of Basildon, in Essex, and outside of teachers, never met a middle-class person until she was 24. From childhood, she suffered with an anxiety disorder and although long-recovered, is currently being assessed for autism spectrum condition – which would explain why when young, she never fitted in. As an adult, she has swapped her anti-anxiety meds for tattoos and piercings and a house held together by books.

At 25, Caron inexplicably went to Cambridge to read English, and has lived there ever since. Against class expectations, she has taught at university level for years – first English, then creative writing. Caron has written since she could hold a pen, and first became a novelist (Three Blind Mice, Prohibitions) until gradually she found herself to be a poet. Her first full poetry collection was Georges Perec is my hero (2015). She is now working with photographer Steve Armitage on a multi-media project about Basildon, as most of a new town decays at the same rate. With Presenting the Fabulous O’Learys, Caron Freeborn makes a return to prose fiction because some stories are too big for a poem.

Closing date: 30 September


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