From one of Ireland's most talented journalists, an extraordinary fiction debut, compelling, colourful and romantic. Kathleen is a 49-year-old travel writer, an Irishwoman based in London who has not been back to Ireland since she was twenty. Her home is her office, her family and friends a few close colleagues. She has not experienced passion since she was young. When, over the course of a few weeks, the props of her life fall away one after another, it is to passion that she turns - not in her own life, but in the fragmentary account of a scandalous affair in 19th century rural Ireland, between the wife of a big Anglo-Irish landlord, and her servant. And so Kathleen is drawn back to Ireland, to see whether she can find out more...
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Nuala O'Faolain's My Dream of You takes the old feminist adage one step further: the personal is invariably political in this exquisite first novel, while its politics feel very personal indeed. The heroine, Kathleen de Burca, is an Irish travel writer living in London. Estranged from her homeland and her family, pushing 50 but still living in the same dingy basement flat that's been her home for two decades, Kathleen's is a life gone "even and dry." Love has been her traditional panacea: "I believed in passion the way other people believed in God: everything fell in place around it." But the only love that comes her way these days takes the form of grim, anonymous sex--and even that grows harder to find.
Oddly enough, it is history--her own, and Ireland's--that brings Kathleen back to life. Shattered by a close friend's death, she leaves her job and London to immerse herself in a 150-year-old divorce case. In 1849, according to court documents, the Anglo-Irish landowner Richard Talbot divorced his wife because she committed adultery with their ragged Irish groom. Or did she? The book Kathleen imagines writing about the affair is a classic tale of passion--yet her research turns up a more complicated story, even as love once again makes inroads into her own life.
My Dream of You shares some of the same preoccupations as O'Faolain's bestselling memoir Are You Somebody?: a distant and loveless family life and the plight of Irish women. But it's the historical narrative that gives Kathleen's story both context and shape, juxtaposing the affair inside the demesne walls with the Famine outside. The excerpts from her "Talbot Book" are searing in their intensity, studded with images of great beauty and unimaginable suffering. Some readers might in fact wish the book's balance tipped even further in the Talbot direction. Then, however, we might miss the author's heartbreakingly nuanced portrait of Kathleen's loneliness. The suffering of Irish peasants during the Famine might be a grander subject than a solitary woman's search for passion. Yet one is as real as the other. In the Irish experience, as in Kathleen de Burca's, the movements of history leave ghostly tracks across individual lives. --Mary Park, Amazon.comReview:
Forty-nine-year old Kathleen is an Irish travel writer based in London who has not been back to Ireland since she was 20. Her home is her office and she has not experienced passion for many years. But when the props of Kathleen's life fall away one after the other she turns to a passion not in her own life but in a scandalous affair in 19th century rural Ireland to where she returns and discovers how powerful the human heart is.
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Book Description 2002-01-17., 2002. Book Condition: New. Penguin Books Ltd. New edition. Paperback. Book: GOOD. 464pp. . Bookseller Inventory # NF-1709169
Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110140288139
Book Description Penguin Books Ltd 2002-01-17, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 0140288139 We guarantee all of our items - customer service and satisfaction are our top priorities. Please allow 4 - 14 business days for Standard shipping, within the US. Bookseller Inventory # TM-0140288139