“A Death in the Family” by Billy O’Callaghan

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We are thrilled to announce the release of our latest solo, A Death in the Family,” by Billy O’Callaghan, available now for $1.99.

Nellie was nine years old when her brother Jimmy fell and broke his back. She and the rest of her family could only watch as the injury slowly worsened. The night before Jimmy died, Nellie ran through their small Irish town to make sure everyone was gathered at their house. Through the dark and the mist, she spotted a tall man in a long coat—a man who looked eerily similar to the grandfather that had passed away years ago.

Decades later, Nellie tells her grandson of her midnight run down Passage Road. As she reflects on the accident that claimed Jimmy’s life, she must acknowledge her own mortality and the empty space that death leaves behind.

Billy O’Callaghan, from Cork, Ireland, has authored three short story collections: In Exile (Mercier Press, 2008), In Too Deep (Mercier Press, 2009), and The Things We Lose, The Things We Leave Behind (New Island, 2013), which won a Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Award; and a novel, The Dead House (Brandon/O’Brien Press, 2017), forthcoming in a U.S. edition from Arcade/Skyhorse in Spring 2018. Recent stories have appeared in the Chattahoochee Review, Kenyon Review, London Magazine, Salamander and the Saturday Evening Post.

Ploughshares Solos are digital-first longform stories and essays edited by Ploughshares’ Editor-in-chief Ladette Randolph. Solos are published nine times a year, and are available for download on Kindle, Nook, iPad, or Kobo. For more information, check out our previously published  Solos and our annual print anthology of Solos, the Ploughshares Solos Omnibus. Purchase a subscription and receive a year’s worth of Solos for just $10.