The Vagabond Lover

The Vagabond Lover

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Cavan O'Connor was born into near destitution in Nottingham in 1899, but quickly rose to become the legendary 'Vagabond of Song'. He was one of the most famous singing legends of his era. He topped Variety bills. He was an adventurer, who cut a swashbuckling figure. In the golden age of radio, his broadcasts reached listening figures of over thirteen million. With his flawless tenor voice his status was as latter-day troubadour, a star of stage imitated by romantics young and old all over the civilised world. But what lay behind the idealised celebrity? Was he a gift from God, or a flawed, vulnerable being like the rest of us? Enter the writer son Garry O'Connor, who answers that question emphatically. In his memoir The Vagabond Lover, the father-son dispute unveils without sentimentality the general mess of domestic and family life, of which Cavan was the head. Revealed - in this searing, honest, dark revelation - are the miserable depths the sweet singer of lyrical song plumbed, and remorselessly so. O'Connor fils does not spare the reader, refusing to gloss over the traumas and crises of family conflict, as they run in parallel with his own fortunes and vicissitudes. He is dispassionate with the biographical detail, yet impassioned enough to recall one of his own plays, penned in his Cambridge youth, where the father Cavan is reimagined. In fiction as in life he is cast as the pivotal character in a family drama painful in its climaxes. Overarching is a first ever account of those Cambridge years, peopled with familiar icons of twenty-first-century culture. It's a fast-moving, two-pronged probe into the nature of celebrity, arriving at a profound resolution as the author shrugs off the flaws and setbacks packaged as part of the celebrity deal.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 296 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 16mm | 419g
  • Totnes, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 34 Illustrations; Illustrations, black and white
  • 1902086198
  • 9781902086194

Review quote

'Garry writes a racy, opinionated and very readable account of life and loves in the English theatre since the 1960s, based often on his own experiences, and contrasts this with a moving account of his famous and very much more strait-laced father.' Bamber Gascoigne

'This is a very good read indeed - sharply intelligent - gossipy where it needs to be - elegantly spaced and paced - altogether a delightful journey - probably O'Connor's best!' Derek Jacobi

'The backstage story of one of Britain's most popular entertainers told by the son who made his own way in a world his father never knew. Cavan O'Connor's boy has written an enthralling family biography, full of gossip, wise insights and fascinating revelations.' Ian McKellen
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