Mulrooney, Gretta Araby

ISBN 13: 9780002256889

Araby

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( 25 ratings by GoodReads )
 
9780002256889: Araby

A funny and intensely moving portrait of childhood, death and a man’s relationship with his larger-than-life mother.

This poignant, witty, warm-hearted yet unsentimental novel charts the turbulent relationship of a mother and son.

As a young boy, Rory Keenan finds his mother bewilderingly and embarrassingly eccentric as his childhood is punctuated by hilarious, cringe-making episodes caused entirely by her unpredictable behaviour and bizarre habits and exploits. Kitty has a huge appetite – for food, for mysterious imaginary illnesses and for strange hobbies. Her irrespressible, opinionated nature ensures that she (and, against his will, Rory too) is the centre of any attention to be had.

At the end of Kitty’s life, Rory, now a grown man, begins to come to terms with his confused feelings for Kitty – he loves her devotedly, but nevertheless her cussedness still infuriates him. As memories and secrets from his family’s stormy past in Ireland and London echo through the tragedy of her final, very real illness we are given an outstandingly vivid and compassionate vision of life, love and death.

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Review:

‘I loved it. It’s such a sweet story, without being in the least sentimental. There are moments when the reader is absolutely there, so acute is this novelist’s ear and eye.’
MARGARET FORSTER

‘Wonderful!’
MAEVE BINCHY

From the Publisher:

'Tenderly funny and genuinely moving' Fiona Morrow, Time Out
‘On hearing of Kitty Keenan’s admittance to hospital, her grown-up son Rory returns to Ireland to comfort his father and await the diagnosis… Rory’s narrative, charting the steady decline of her health, is interspersed with a series of flashbacks… through which Kitty emerges larger than life. For Rory, these snapshots of the past are part of a process of unpicking the odd tangle of love and petty grievances that characterise familial relationships. Mulrooney’s ability to make sense of the contradictions in clear, precise prose is the most remarkable achievement of the novel. A beautifully observed study of reconciliation, Araby makes astute points about conflict and shifting values between generations.’ James Eve, The Times

‘Kitty is a magnificent diva of discontent: contradictory, ludicrous, sharp-witted, thick-skinned, the sort of character best enjoyed from a distance… The narrative of her decline and death is worked with frequent flashbacks to Kitty’s heyday, and her enthusiasm for Catholicism, medicament, hobbies and quarrelling… What is admirable about Mulrooney’s writing is the way she manages to keep the tone buoyant, while alluding to many heartbreaking strands of family history. For both Kitty and Rory, this is a story of gallant survival.’ Ruth Pavey, Independent

‘Mulrooney has a real gift for dialogue, the words and phrases ring true and make her characters wonderfully real… A tenderly funny and genuinely moving piece. I loved it.’ Fiona Morrow, Time Out

‘An amusing, totally unsentimental slice of life and a chilling meditation on mortality… Never angst-ridden or moralistic (a mixture of black comedy, affection and over-the-top farce)… I really enjoyed this truthful and affecting novel.’ Books Ireland

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Gretta Mulrooney
Published by Flamingo (1998)
ISBN 10: 0002256886 ISBN 13: 9780002256889
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Mulrooney, Gretta
Published by Flamingo (1998)
ISBN 10: 0002256886 ISBN 13: 9780002256889
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