The Light of Evening

by Edna O'Brien

In this contemporary story with universal resonance, Edna O'Brien delves deep into the intense relationship that exists between a mother and daughter who long for closeness yet remain eternally at odds.

From her hospital bed in Dublin, the ailing Dilly Macready eagerly awaits a visit from her long-estranged daughter, Eleanora. Years before, Eleanora fled Ireland for London when her sensuous first novel caused a local scandal. Eleanora's peripatetic life since then has brought international fame but personal heartbreak in her failed quest for love. Always, her mother beseeches her to return home, sending letters that are priceless in their mix of love, guilt, and recrimination. For all her disapproval, Dilly herself knows something of Eleanora's need for freedom: as a young woman in the 1920s, Dilly left Ireland for a new life in New York City. O'Brien's marvelous cinematic portrait of New York in that era is a tour-de-force, filled with the clang and clatter of the city, the camaraderie of the working girls against their callous employers, and their fierce competition over handsome young men. But a lover's betrayal sent Dilly reeling back to Ireland to raise a family on a lovely old farm named Rusheen. It is Rusheen that still holds mother and daughter together.

Yet Eleanora's visit to her mother’s sickbed does not prove to be the glad reunion that Dilly prayed for. And in her hasty departure, Eleanora leaves behind a secret journal of their stormy relationship -- a revelation that brings the novel to a shocking close.

Brimming with the lyricism and earthy insight that are the hallmarks of Edna O'Brien's acclaimed fiction, The Light of Evening is a novel of dreams and attachments, lamentations and betrayals. At its core is the realization that the bond between mother and child is unbreakable, stronger even than death.

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN-13/ EAN: 9780618919734
  • ISBN-10: 0618919732
  • Pages: 304
  • Publication Date: 10/11/2007
  • Carton Quantity: 24

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About the Book
About the Author
Reviews
  • About the Book
    In this contemporary story with universal resonance, Edna O'Brien delves deep into the intense relationship that exists between a mother and daughter who long for closeness yet remain eternally at odds.

    From her hospital bed in Dublin, the ailing Dilly Macready eagerly awaits a visit from her long-estranged daughter, Eleanora. Years before, Eleanora fled Ireland for London when her sensuous first novel caused a local scandal. Eleanora's peripatetic life since then has brought international fame but personal heartbreak in her failed quest for love. Always, her mother beseeches her to return home, sending letters that are priceless in their mix of love, guilt, and recrimination. For all her disapproval, Dilly herself knows something of Eleanora's need for freedom: as a young woman in the 1920s, Dilly left Ireland for a new life in New York City. O'Brien's marvelous cinematic portrait of New York in that era is a tour-de-force, filled with the clang and clatter of the city, the camaraderie of the working girls against their callous employers, and their fierce competition over handsome young men. But a lover's betrayal sent Dilly reeling back to Ireland to raise a family on a lovely old farm named Rusheen. It is Rusheen that still holds mother and daughter together.

    Yet Eleanora's visit to her mother’s sickbed does not prove to be the glad reunion that Dilly prayed for. And in her hasty departure, Eleanora leaves behind a secret journal of their stormy relationship -- a revelation that brings the novel to a shocking close.

    Brimming with the lyricism and earthy insight that are the hallmarks of Edna O'Brien's acclaimed fiction, The Light of Evening is a novel of dreams and attachments, lamentations and betrayals. At its core is the realization that the bond between mother and child is unbreakable, stronger even than death.

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  • About the Author
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  • Reviews
    “A delicate, everyday, even humorous love between mother and daughter is revealed as the grandest of passions.”—Nuala O’Faolain

    “The powerful bonds and deep divisions between mothers and daughters form the dark currents beneath The Light of Evening . . . O’Brien is still writing beautifully about the often painful and startling ways in which women learn about men, about love, about the world—and about themselves.”—Francine Prose, starred review People Magazine

    “You’ll turn the pages of this book with the greatest reluctance, and that is because each page is so seductive, so dazzling, you won’t want to leave it. Whether the setting is Brooklyn or London or the County Clare itself, richness of detail and atmosphere draws you in.”—Frank McCourt

    “Fully merits the adjective ‘bravura.’” The Los Angeles Times

    “Philip Roth has called Edna O’Brien the most gifted woman now writing fiction in English, and it is hard not to agree.” The Wall Street Journal

    “O’Brien’s vivid, musical prose wafts us into the past, enveloping us in its sights and sounds and smells . . . surprising yet satisfying.” Boston Globe

    “[O’Brien] understands the honeycomb of family life like few writers at work today.” Cleveland Plain Dealer

    “Lush with wild yet carefully bridled language and vivid in imagery.” Elle

    “Her fiction remains so vital and engaged, so contemptuous of piety and convention, so hostile to sentiment and so willing to risk real feeling . . . We have now a shelf full of novels and story collections that constitute one of the scant handful of careers in English-speaking letters that unquestionably deserves to be called great." The Los Angeles Times

    “Reading Edna O’Brien is like going into a special place full of radiant energy and intense understanding, unlike any other reading enclosure I know.”—Alice Munro

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