Nuala O'Faolain received critical acclaim for her candid memoris, "Are You Somebody?" and "Almost There". Here, she embraces the life of a notorious criminal, an unrepentant and enigmatic daughter of Ireland - Chicago May. Legend says that May was a mesmerizing beauty, with startling blue eyes and hair spun of red and gold who captured the hearts of men wherever she went, at nineteen, she stole her family's savings and ran away from her home in rural Ireland to America, arriving first at Nebraska. May then travelled to Chicago and onto New York where she worked in a variety of unsavoury jobs and was soon hailed in tabloids as a 'Queen of the Underworld'. But this was nothing in comparison with what was to follow. In 1901, May had fallen in love with big-time criminal Eddie Guerin and followed him to Paris where together, they robbed the American Express. But they were both caught and sent to prison. She survived, returning to America to reinvent herself again and again until her death in 1929.
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Nuala O'Faolain's autobiographical memoir, Are You Somebody? was published to huge success and critical acclaim in America and Ireland. Since then she has also written the bestselling novel, My Dream of You and most recently Almost There. She lives in the west of Ireland and New York City.From Publishers Weekly:
In 1890, 19-year-old May Duignan left her hardscrabble Irish town with her family's savings and set off to create a new life. In a biography that is also a reflection on autobiography, O'Faolain, author of two bestselling memoirs, examines the young woman's transformation into the notorious thief and prostitute Chicago May. Her greatest source is May's own account of her life, which, in significant contrast to modern memoir, is long on action and short on reflection. O'Faolain balances that deficit with smart readings of scattered sources and with evocations of her own life that illuminate the Irish experience in May's time and today. She follows May through the desperate and tough Chicago red light district to the Tenderloin of New York, and then to London, Paris and various prisons. May's opportunities for escape from the life she made came in many forms, including marriage to the black sheep of a respectable New Jersey family and a successful escape with the loot from a heist of the American Express office in Paris. But shortsightedness, loyalty and revenge led her to rebuff each opportunity. While drawing out the lacunae of her story with speculation and description, O'Faolain resists the urge to reinvent or sentimentalize May. The biographer makes herself a complement rather than an intrusion, and May emerges lively, unique and cut from the cloth of Irish and American reinvention. B&w photos not seen by PW. (Sept.)
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Book Description Michael Joseph Ltd, 2006. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0141006587
Book Description Michael Joseph Ltd, 2006. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 141006587