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Publisher's Summary

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. A searing anatomy of class is seen through a little girl’s eyes. In language that is always bold and vital, Edna O’Brien pays tribute to the universal forces that rule our lives.

©2011 Edna O'Brien (P)2011 Dreamscape Media, LLC

Critic Reviews

"Throughout, tragedy mingles with beauty, yearning with survival, and destruction with moments of grace." (Publishers Weekly)
"A worthy heir to the great Irish forebears in Irish literature." (San Francisco Chronicle)
"[Edna] O'Brien has great gifts: an inimitable lyrical voice; an unflinching, uncompromising gaze that lays bare love, longing, and families; and an acute insight into the tragedy of human existence." (Irish Independent News)

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  • Cariola
  • Chambersburg, PA USA
  • 10-15-16

Bleak but Beautiful

This collection of short stories is rather bleak: there are no happy endings for the characters, and for some, there are no endings at all. The settings move from Dublin to London to New York and back to the Irish countryside. Dashed hopes, sad memories, aimless wandering, impossible dreams, broken relationships, the mouldering past--this is the stuff that O'Brien's stories are made of. The writing itself is melancholy, precise, and quite beautiful, and although few of the characters are what one might call likable, the author gives us sufficient insight into their lives and minds to understand and empathize with them. Suzanne Bertish is the perfect reader for this rather bleak collections.