A collection of short stories by the author of Mother of Pearl and the winner of a 1995 Lannan Literary Award for Fiction features characters that seek redemption and face unexpected consequences.
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The stories in this collection by Irish writer Mary Morrissy are about women who are marginalized or somehow outcast, usually by some bodily weakness. The title story refers to the old-fashioned practice of covering with a large pink plaster one eye of a child, supposedly to strengthen the other "lazy eye." The psychological pain of this experience is repeated later in the life of the protagonist, Bella Carmichael. And so it is with the other women here. One is marked by a facial birthmark, one is a victim of obscene phone calls. Another, a teenager, is beset simply by the raging hormones of puberty and the indifference of adults. Morrissy portrays vividly the frustrations and humiliations of her characters, and her empathy makes understandable their emotional reactions.From Kirkus Reviews:
From Dublin-based Morrissy (Mother of Pearl, 1995), 15 stories that at their best sing with feeling, though the strain of artifice at other times threatens to damp the tone. Family life--especially the poor and crowded kind--comes alive in Morrissy's hands. In the title story, for example, a young woman tours Europe on money left by her father, but in spite of an episode of searing injustice that mars her travels, the story's most memorable passages hearken back to a home life where the girl was the youngest of 11 siblings (``a plate of potato cakes would nosedive to the table and there would be a spasm of outstretched arms''). The suffering of childhood--and the marks it can leave--affords some of the strongest moments here. ``Invisible Mending,'' for instance, is about a police inspector who's coolly ruthless in getting confessions: and in his childhood, the reader learns, was just the combination of good intentions and depraved injustices to create an adult both sadistic and poetically sensitive. Morrissey sometimes stretches for her stories, though, in ways that threaten to make method more visible than the story it tells--as in ``Divided Attention,'' about a woman so obsessed with an ex-lover's family life that she becomes a peeping Tom, or the predictable ``A Marriage of Convenience,'' about a tourist and an opportunistic local waiter. Some pieces tend toward thinness through being device-heavy, as in ``Plaque,'' where a marriage ends as dental work begins. But ``A Curse,'' although clumsy in its plot turns, does catch the true intensity and baffled passion of adolescence; and ``Agony Aunt,'' about sibling rivalry between grown sisters, hints powerfully at a terrible darkness in the very intimacies of daily life. Stories that are among the finest when at their best, then, though others haven't grown into their new skin, still shaking off the artifice and feel of the classroom. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Vintage, 1996. Book Condition: Good. New Ed. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP75583099
Book Description Vintage, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: Used; Acceptable. Dispatched, from the UK, within 48 hours of ordering. The book is perfectly readable and fit for use, although it shows signs of previous ownership. The spine is likely creased and the cover scuffed or slightly torn. Textbooks will typically have an amount of underlining and/or highlighting, as well as notes. If this book is over 5 years old, then please expect the pages to be yellowing or to have age spots. Bookseller Inventory # CHL2059457
Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: Good. The book has been read but remains in clean condition. All pages are intact and the cover is intact. Some minor wear to the spine. Bookseller Inventory # GOR002024545
Book Description Vintage 11/01/1996, 1996. Book Condition: used-good. Will be shipped promptly from UK warehouse. Book is in good condition with no missing pages, no damage or soiling and tight spine. There may be some dog-eared pages showing previous use but overall a great book. Bookseller Inventory # 9053-9780099701415
Book Description Vintage 11/01/1996, 1996. Book Condition: Very Good. This book is in very good condition and will be shipped within 24 hours of ordering. The cover may have some limited signs of wear but the pages are clean, intact and the spine remains undamaged. This book has clearly been well maintained and looked after thus far. Money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. See all our books here, order more than 1 book and get discounted shipping. . Bookseller Inventory # 7719-9780099701415
Book Description Vintage 11/01/1996, 1996. Book Condition: Good. This book is in good or better condition. It has no tears to the pages and no pages will be missing from the book. The spine of the book is still in great condition and the front cover is generally unmarked. It has signs of previous use but overall is in really nice, tight condition. Shipping is normally same day from our UK warehouse. We offer a money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. Bookseller Inventory # 9053-9780099701415
Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: Good. The book has been read but remains in clean condition. All pages are intact and the cover is intact. Some minor wear to the spine. Bookseller Inventory # FPS0099701413G