Books by Andrew O’Hagan

Andrew O'Hagan was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1968 and read English at the University of Strathclyde. He is a contributing editor to the London Review of Books and Granta magazine. In his acclaimed first book, The Missing (1995), O'Hagan wrote about hi

BE NEAR ME by Andrew O’Hagan
Released: June 4, 2007

"O'Hagan's accomplished prose and casual wit counterbalance his abstraction, aided by fine character portraits, especially that of an intellectually acute but isolated soul condemned by his own fallibility."
An impeccably crafted, philosophically framed account of the decline and disgrace of an impressionable Catholic priest. Read full book review >
PERSONALITY by Andrew O’Hagan
Released: Aug. 1, 2003

"Haunting and rewarding as an intimate family chronicle and journalistic take on the entertainment industry, based, we're told, 'on the life story of a famous singer.'"
The rise and near fall of a young Italian-Scottish singing sensation—a fictional composite of Shirley Temple, Liza Minelli, and Brittany Spears, among others. Read full book review >
OUR FATHERS by Andrew O’Hagan
Released: Oct. 1, 1999

The first fiction from Glaswegian journalist O'Hagan (The Missing, 1996) a muted, melancholy, and gently touching tale of a son who returns home for the death of his grandfather and finds both the private, and the public, dimensions of a changing Scotland. "Our fathers were made for grief . . . And all our lives we waited for sadness to happen," observes Jamie Bawn, now in his early 30s. Growing up under Robert Bawn, a vicious, raging alcoholic, Jamie recounts his tortuous childhood, and his sustaining intimacy with his mother Alice, who suffered her husband for years. Finally, Jamie moved out, to live with his grandparents Hugh and Margaret. Hugh, Robert's father, was a "visionary" urban planner who guided the construction of public-housing projects in 1970s Glasgow—high blocks of concrete and glass similar to those in the US from the era. Margaret was a good teacher, and Hugh was an energetic, ambitious father-figure for young Jamie, and years later, when Jamie receives word that Hugh is dying, he hurries from England to ease the way for both Hugh and Margaret. By now, Robert has disappeared, though Jamie is delighted to find Alice remarried and freshly independent. Hugh's dying, though, is not untroubled: an investigation is probing the old man's possible misappropriation of funds during his tenure as "Mr. Housing," and his beloved structures are being torn down to make way for the new. Which, Jamie finds, includes glimpses of Trainspotting Scotland, a polluted, history-soaked, seemingly exhausted land. But at Hugh's funeral, Robert turns up, then quickly disappears. Jamie follows and finds he's sobered up and now contentedly, modestly drives a taxi. After a reconciliation of sorts, the tale closes on a cautiously hopeful note. A relatively simple story, written with an entrancing, gentle eloquence: O'Hagan offers a deeply moving meditation on losses, both personal and historical, and on the tide of time through generations. Read full book review >
THE MISSING by Andrew O’Hagan
Released: Oct. 1, 1996

A haunting look at the phenomenon of missing persons. Scottish journalist O'Hagan explored the United Kingdom in search of stories of people who have vanished. He begins with his own grandfather, a sailor lost at sea, and continues the search through the ugly tenements where he grew up—and where several boys were lost. He interviews the families of these children, and their agony is horribly vivid. One father happened upon a look-alike of his missing son and almost begged the boy to move to his house and pretend to be his son. Other parents obsessively flip through photographs of their missing children, forever frozen in time at the age they were when taken. The police call the vanished ``mispers,'' for missing persons, and are only now beginning to compile records on the subject. O'Hagan also visits a grim center for homeless teens, where the residents do their best to sever any remaining familial ties. He follows the trail of a number of lost girls to the home of Fred West, who killed at least 25 female boarders and buried them in his backyard. These stories are unrelenting, and O'Hagan presents solid insights into both the minds of the families and those of some who've deliberately disappeared. But the grisly litany would have been better served by the presence of real insight into why people vanish. He revisits the murder scene of James Bulger, a young boy killed by two 10-year-olds, and recounts episodes of his own cruelty, as a child, toward other children. But while O'Hagan raises the fascinating specter of child sadism, he doesn't speculate on its causes, quickly dropping the matter. Though somewhat lacking in a sense of the big picture, this is a powerfully observed and often heartbreaking portrait in miniature of those who disappear and the effect on those they leave behind. Read full book review >