Vlad, a stranger from Eastern Europe masquerading as a healer, settles in a small Irish village where the locals fall under his spell. One woman, Fidelma McBride, becomes so enamored that she begs him for a child. All that world is shattered when Vlad is arrested, and his identity as a war criminal is revealed.
"Red, as Scarlet, as Enraging, as Bloody"
Caithleen and Baba, first encountered in The Country Girls, are now living in Dublin, where they discuss men, drink gin, and try to look fast. Cait, in the pursuit of true love, becomes involved with the fanatically domineering Eugene Gaillard. Painful disillusion and occasional moments of bliss in her life make this a bittersweet tale, and it is told with all the perception and wit that is the hallmark of Edna O’Brien.
"Beautiful Sequel to The Country Girls"
It is the early 1960s in a country village in Ireland. Caithleen Brady and her attractive friend, Baba, are on the verge of womanhood and dreaming of spreading their wings in a wider world - of discovering love and luxury and liquor and above all, fun. With bawdy innocence, shrewd for all their inexperience, the girls romp their way through convent school to the bright lights of Dublin – where Caithleen finds that suave, idealised lovers rarely survive the real world.
"Hard to listen to"
When a wanted war criminal masquerading as a healer settles in a small west coast Irish village, the community are in thrall. One woman, Fidelma McBride, falls under his spell, and in this searing novel Edna O'Brien charts the consequence of that fatal attraction. This is a story about love, the artifice of evil and the terrible necessity of accountability in our shattered, damaged world.
Coming of age, the impact of class, and familial and romantic love are the prevalent motifs, along with the instinct toward escape and subsequent nostalgia for home. Some of the stories are linked, and some carry O'Brien's distinct sense of the comical. In "A Rose in the Heart of New York", the single-mindedness of love dramatically derails the relationship between a girl and her mother while in "Sister Imelda" and "The Creature", the strong ties between teacher and student and mother and son are ultimately broken.
Edna O'Brien's masterly novel, Wild Decembers, charts the quick and critical demise of relations between Joseph Brennan and Mick Bugler, "the warring sons of warring sons", in the countryside of western Ireland. With her inimitable gift for describing the occasions of heartbreak, O'Brien brings Joseph's love for his land to the level of his sister Breege's love for both him and his rival, Bugler.
Edna O'Brien's family encouraged her to attend pharmacy school but she left before finishing, to marry an older writer, give birth to two sons, and publish, in 1960, her first novel. The Country Girls so scandalized the O'Briens' local parish that the book was burned by the priest, her family disgraced. Country Girl comes 21 books later, a rich and heady accounting of the events, people, emotions, and landscape that imprint upon and enliven one lifetime.
"Needs a Professional Narrator"
One of Ireland's best current novelists provides a thumbnail sketch of Ireland's greatest writer. A passionate and sensuous portrait, James Joyce is a return to the land of politics, history, saints, and scholars that shaped the creator of the 20th century's groundbreaking novel, Ulysses.
"Enthusiastic and insightful"
Kate and Baba are in London, playing out the tragicomedy of their married lives to its surprisingly level-headed conclusion. Kate, feeling trapped in her grey stone house with her increasingly cold husband, tearfully looks for her dreams of romance elsewhere. And when Eugene takes terrible, implacable revenge, she naturally turns to her brazen friend Baba for help.
"Best of Country Girls Trilogy"
With her inimitable gift for describing the workings of the heart and mind, Edna O’Brien introduces us to a vivid new cast of restless, searching people who – whether in the Irish countryside or London or New York – remind us of our own humanity. A librarian waits in the lobby of a posh Dublin hotel – expecting to meet a celebrated poet while reflecting on the great love who disappointed her. Irish workers dream of becoming millionaires in London, but long for their quickly changing homeland – exiles in both places.
"Bleak but Beautiful"
Selected Shorts: Falling in Love presents a collection of stirring tales of love and longing. Selected Shorts is an award-winning series of classic and contemporary short fiction read by acclaimed actors. The Selected Shorts radio series is a co-production of Symphony Space and WNYC, New York Public Radio, and is heard on public radio stations nationwide.
"all of the selected shorts series are the best"
From her hospital bed in Dublin, the elderly Dilly awaits the visit of her daughter, Eleanora, from London. The epochs of her life pass before her; she also retraces Eleanora's precipitate marriage to a foreigner, which alienated mother and daughter, and Dilly's heart-rending letters sent over the years in a determination to reclaim her daughter. But Eleanora's visit does not prove to be the glad reunion Dilly prayed for. And in her hasty departure, Eleanora leaves behind a secret journal of their stormy relationship.
Set in a Spanish seaside enclave this is a passionate account of lost love and the return to loving, where currents of regret and loneliness clash with a fiery instinct for survival. The author also wrote The Country Girl's Trilogy, August is a Wicked Month and Johnny I Hardly Knew You.
"vignettes rather than a novel"
"Diverse Opinions", by Jeffrey Toobin; "A Soldier Home", by Yiyun Li; "Two Emmas", by Roger Angell; "The Magic Mountain", by Aleksandar Hemon; "The Age of Genius", by David Grossman; "Old Wounds", by Edna O'Brien; and "The Wanderers", by David Denby.
This is the story of a woman's life, her marriage and the bonds that tie her to her two boys. When the marriage ends she battles to keep her children, while trying to sustain an emotional life of her own and to earn a living. Her boys grow older, but they are still the centre of her life.
Edna O'Brien was born in 1930. Her brilliant debut novel, The Country Girls, was banned in her native Ireland upon its publication in 1960. Since then she has gone on to produce some of the finest writing of the 20th century. In Country Girl we hear of a life of high drama and contemplation, of encounters with Hollywood giants, pop stars, and literary titans. It is a life gorgeously, sometimes painfully remembered, in prose that sparkles with the effortless gifts of a master.
In the Forest, set in the west of Ireland, is the story of a young man who shoots dead three people in a forest glade. The young man, Mich O'Kane, is "not all there in the head" as one character puts it. By puberty, he is already committing petty crimes, ending up in borstal. By the time he is back home he has also served time in a British jail and is an institutionalised criminal.
Josie, the ailing, elderly inhabitant of an Irish country mansion, dwells in the shadowy world of remembered pain and loneliness. McGreevy, the terrorist, reintroduces the possibility of compassion and tenderness, but there is an inevitably violent conclusion to their understanding as the police net closes. With extraordinary skill and empathy, Edna O'Brien shows two faces of a divided land: the yearnings of a woman whose youthful joy was broken, and the intransigent idealism of her captor.