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Nuala O'Faolainis a columnist withThe Irish Times and the author of Are You Somebody? The Accidental Memoir of a Dublin Woman. She lives in Dublin and County Clare. My Dream of You is her first novel.
Having scored with the memoir Are You Somebody?, Irish Times columnist O'Faolain proves just who she is with her first novel. An Irishwoman who works as a travel writer in London seeks to get her life back on track by investigating the 19th-century affair between an Irish servant and an English landlord's wife. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Well-known Irish newspaper columnist O'Faolain made a splash in 1998 with the publication of her unsentimental yet poignant memoir. The essential themes and many details of her evocatively atmospheric first novel will be familiar to readers of Are You Somebody? The Accidental Memoir of a Dublin Woman. Expatriate Irishwoman Kathleen de Burca, an unmarried, middle-aged travel writer, lives in a dreary basement flat in London. Although she is professionally successful, her quest for passion has devolved into a series of increasingly rare one-night stands. She justifies the unsatisfying nature of her relationships by characterizing herself as "a generous woman." When her best friend dies of a heart attack, Kathleen decides to quit her job and write the book she has been contemplating for years. She returns to Ireland, where she immerses herself in research into an 1856 divorce case involving an alleged affair between Mrs. Talbot, the wife of an Anglo-Irish landowner, and William Mullan, their servant. Kathleen is also discovering truths about herself, her family and her country as she (like Mrs. Talbot) confronts the dilemma of whether to seize what may be her last chance for love and passion, albeit with a married man. O'Faolain's novel-within-a-novel device effectively mirrors one of the author's themes, the ultimate unknowability of a past always viewed through the lens of the present. The humor, honesty and moral seriousness with which Kathleen assesses her life and the conditions of her heart and her soul acquire a moving resonance as the imagined lives of her characters achieve resolution and her own life flowers into another phase. And O'Faolain's depiction of the west of Ireland during and just after the Famine surpasses any historical recitation of the "facts." (Feb. 19) Forecast: O'Faolain's memoir was a bestseller, and the 125,000-copy first printing and 17-city author tour scheduled for the novel anticipate another run on the lists for the Irish author. Foreign rights have been sold in the U.K., Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden. BOMC and QPB alternates. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
"A grand achievement in storytelling... A lovely heartbreaker of a novel that asks the hard questions."--USA Today "Ingeniously explores the consuming power of both passion and the past."--Entertainment Weekly "What a pleasure it is to be able to open a book and relax into the flow of a beautifully written narrative...With an ambling, intimate candor, O'Faolain tells Kathleen's story, present and past...And always, of course, behind everything is Ireland itself--beautiful, maddening Ireland."--Lynn Freed, Washington Post Book World "A big, generous, essentially old-fashioned novel, taking its unhurried time to tell a story and create a central character, to have a cool, long look at history and romance...There is tenderness here, and humanity, and a persuasive account of what happens when a person allows the world to enter into her once more."--Catherine Lockerbie, The New York Times Book Review "O'Faolain is] a reader's writer, with a flair for straightforward, Dickensian storytelling."--Meghan O'Rourke, Vogue "Full of brilliant writing and heartbreaking insight...Unlike all but the best writers, O'Faolain isn't afraid to write about a character as smart and complicated as she is."--Malcolm Jones, Newsweek "A smart and crisply written book, tinged with sadness...Kathleen's journey back to one of Ireland's humbler backwaters after a fashionable life as a near-English traveling journalist is fraught with emotion and politics. Indeed, one of the achievements of this lovely, haunting, and intelligent novel is demonstrating how tightly these elements are linked in the modern Irish - not only in the manner that makes international news, but at the levels that give color and shape to an individual's everyday life."--Vince Passaro, Elle "What keeps you engrossed is the fact that the novel interweaves the contemporary bits...with an irresistible mystery...I can't remember the last time I read a novel that so eloquently describes the erotic dilemma of middle age--the way that hunger for sexual and emotional satisfaction, unabated by time, intersects with a shocked recognition that the body itself changes, or even fails...It is [O'Faolain's] journalistic eye for detail that etches Kathleen's dilemma into your memory."--Daniel Mendelsohn, New York