All along the Echo
‘A boisterous chorus, brimming with humanity. All Along the Echo feels like a living thing, dancing and dodging, surprising and poignant’ Lisa McInerney
FIRST VOICE: Why are we listening?
SECOND VOICE: I dunno, I mean, what else is there to do?
Tony Cooney, a local-radio DJ, spends his days on air, talking to the listeners of Cork. They call in to tell him about overturned sewage trucks and nuisance graffiti artists, each story a small testimony to the bustle of life that goes on in the county. Off air, however, Tony is beginning to feel unsettled. His long marriage is strained, his teenage daughter is struggling with her mental health, and then out of the blue an old girlfriend gets in touch and suggests he come to visit.
Lou Fitzpatrick, Tony’s young radio-show producer, is having her own off-air problems. She wants children, but her girlfriend has other ideas; they’ve lost their beloved cat and her father’s drinking is way past problematic. Which is why both Tony and Lou are relieved to leave Cork and drive across Ireland as part of a radio publicity stunt organized by a local car dealership. Their aim is to give away the Mazda 2 that they’re driving, the catch being that it must go to one of the many emigrants who have recently returned home to escape a wave of escalating terror attacks in London. But as they navigate dual-carriageways and Travelodges, giving airtime and narrative to the great cacophony of voices calling into the show, the car competition transforms into a surreal quest: Tony to find his first love, Lou to find answers to impossible questions, and all the while two mysterious voices listen in, making their own estimations…
A mighty tale of radios, road trips and of the noisy static of life, All Along the Echo asks us whether our lives ever add up to more than the stories we tell ourselves. Funny, warm and in the wilding spirit of George Saunders or Samuel Beckett, Danny Denton’s novel is a bravura capturing of modern Ireland, one that shows us the possibilities of fiction, the nature of love and death, and what it is for each of us to be only the briefest signal in life’s splendid broadcastttzchidhcmxc [static].