Books by Robert O'Connor

Released: Jan. 13, 1993

A bleak look at the peacetime era of the New Army and its racism, drug abuse, prostitution, and zombie-like TV viewing. While stretches of O'Connor's first novel become tedious and programmatic, it does offer a hard-luck look at idle soldiers. The story, written oddly and not quite felicitously in the second person, centers on Specialist Ray Elwood, a clerk to battalion commander Berman, a boss who's mostly concerned with writing about Dien Bien Phu. Elwood, meanwhile, deals heroin and serves as a middleman for fencing stolen goods, among other escapades that are presented in sometimes mind-numbing detail. The slice-of-life is replete with gritty instances and macho talk. The plot, such as it is, concerns Berman's order to Elwood to memorialize a dead soldier, McCovey. The memorial amounts to a scam, because McCovey, like most of the people we meet here, was the lowest of the low. Highlights of the tale include ``dick surgery,'' a circumcision that's talked about and then celebrated; the technicalities of shooting up and of manipulating buyers (``One of your talents, perhaps the only one, is for tuning people....In chemical terms you are a catalyst''). We are taken through this version of hell, in other words, treated to all the sights and sounds thereof, and then, to bring the documentary-like narrative to a close, O'Connor has the troops engage in a mock-battle. Berman screws up for the umpteenth time and is relieved of his command, while Elwood ends up in a metal locker and meets what seems to be a sorry end—the locker is tossed out a window— that's relieved only by an hallucination. A post-Vietnam equivalent of James Jones's dissections of the peacetime services: underbelly-of-life fiction that, in its unrelieved bleakness, suggests that reform of the volunteer Army is overdue. Read full book review >
SUPER CLUCK by Jane O’Connor
Released: March 15, 1991

``Chuck Cluck...came to Earth on a rocket ship when he was just an egg.'' Adopted by a passing hen, he soon amazes the other chickens by picking up their coop to retrieve a corn cob, and becomes a hero when he rescues some hatching eggs from a marauding rat. Setting this popular formula in the barnyard gives it an amusing spin, while Lloyd's illustrations are especially lively. Robert O'Connor, now a sixth grader, had the idea for the story at seven; his conclusion hints at a sequel. (Easy reader. 4-8) Read full book review >