Here Comes Another Lesson


Here Comes Another Lesson

STEPHEN O’CONNOR IS ONE OF TODAY’S MOST GIFTED AND ORIGINAL WRITERS. In Here Comes Another Lesson, O’Connor, whose stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Conjunctions, and many other places, fearlessly depicts a world that no longer quite makes sense. Ranging from the wildly inventive to the vividly realistic, these brilliant stories offer tender portraits of idealists who cannot live according to their own ideals and of lovers baffled by the realities of love.

The story lines are unforgettable: A son is followed home from work by his dead father. God instructs a professor of atheism to disseminate updated Commandments. The Minotaur is awakened to his own humanity by the computer-game-playing "new girl" who has been brought to him for supper. A recently returned veteran longs for the utterly ordinary life he led as a husband and father before being sent to Iraq. An ornithologist, forewarned by a cormorant of the exact minute of his death, struggles to remain alert to beauty and joy.

As playful as it is lyrical, Here Comes Another Lesson celebrates human hopefulness and laments a sane and gentle world that cannot exist.
  • Free Press | 
  • 320 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439181997 | 
  • August 2010
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Here Comes Another Lesson by Stephen O’Connor includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Here Comes Another Lesson is a surprising, playful, and stirring collection of stories ranging from the wildly inventive to the vividly realistic. The utterly original stories feature characters who are all idealists, in one way or another, but who cannot live according to their ideals. They yearn for love and fulfillment, often against fantastical, semi-apocalyptic backdrops whose strangeness only serves to make these lives more familiar, and deeply affecting. This exciting literary showcase simultaneously laments a sane and gentle world that can never exist and celebrates human hopefulness in the face of that fact.


Discussion Points

1.      In this collection, some stories are firmly grounded in reality and others make use of fantastical situations or backdrops to evoke real emotion. As you read, did you find yourself connecting with one style of story over another? Use examples from the book to explain your opinion.

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About the Author

Stephen O'Connor
Photograph © Emma Benedict O'Connor

Stephen O'Connor

Stephen O’Connor is the author of three books: Rescue (a collection of short fiction and poetry), Will My Name Be Shouted Out? (a work of memoir and social analysis), and Orphan Trains: The Story of Charles Loring Brace and the Children He Saved and Failed (a narrative history). His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Conjunctions, The Quarterly, Partisan Review, The New England Review, and elsewhere. His poetry has been in Poetry Magazine, The Missouri Review, Agni, Knockout, and Green Mountains Review. His essays and journalism have appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, and elsewhere.

O’Connor is the recipient of the Cornell Woolrich Fellowship in Creative Writing from Columbia University, the Visiting Fellowship for Historical Research by Artists and Writers from the American Antiquarian Society, and the DeWitt Wallace/Reader's Digest Fellowship from the MacDowell Colony. He teaches in the writing MFA programs of Columbia University and Sarah Lawrence. For eight years he directed and taught in Teachers & Writers Collaborative’s flagship creative writing program at a public school in New York City. He has received a B.A. from Columbia University, and an M.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, both in English literature. He lives with his wife and daughter in New York City.