This ruminative novel takes place over the course of a day, one of many a playwright spends in her actress friend's Dublin home over the course of a summer. The nameless narrator, an accomplished playwright to whom Irish actress Molly Fox has loaned her Dublin home, reflects on her 20-year-long friendship with Molly and the rise of both of their careers as she avoids the work of writing her next play. As she wanders through the house peeking at Molly's personal belongings, awards, and theater memorabilia, the narrator realizes that, in some ways, Molly is as much of an enigma to her now as when they first met. She also explores her relationships with a college friend, Andrew, and her older brother, Tom, a priest. There isn't much in the way of plot—it mostly consists of a series of flashbacks—but readers who enjoy this cerebral and meandering variety of first-person Euro-fiction will be enthralled at Madden's unassuming yet moving story. (May)
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*Starred Review* A finalist for England’s prestigious Orange Prize, Madden’s novel is a meditative exploration of the nature of self in relation to others. The unnamed narrator is an Irish playwright of some renown who has returned to Dublin to house-sit for her friend Molly Fox, an acclaimed theater actress who is taking a trip to New York before starting a run on stage in London. The narrator is hoping to make some headway on her new play, but Molly’s home calls up memories of their friendship, as well as of their mutual friend Andrew, an art historian who first caught the playwright’s eye when they were both in college logging long hours at the library. That there are unresolved feelings among the three won’t come as a surprise, but the revelations are handled with such a deft, subtle hand that they pass across the page like ripples in a pond. The joy of this elegant novel is in peeling back the layers to try to understand a person who is “the product of a stable background but simply couldn’t fit into it, whose whole life and work was an effort to understand this failure to connect.” --Kristine HuntleySee all Editorial Reviews
Whenever I read a book, the first thing I notice is the quality of the writing. And here, Ms. Madden impressed me. Read morePublished on December 6, 2010 by P. Mann
cup of tea...
A bit on the too deep for me. I really felt as if I didn't know any of the characters at all.. I mean who was Molly really? ...Or maybe they were? Read more
This wonderful literary novel may take place in one day, but encompasses 20 years of shared friendship. Read morePublished on June 21, 2010 by C. Quinn
"Molly Fox's Birthday" is one of the most unsatisfying books I've ever read. I enjoyed it as I read it, for the most part, but when I came to the end, I wasn't left pondering the... Read morePublished on June 8, 2010 by Pat Shand
Written by someone else, I may have had trouble with this book. But Deirdre Madden's writing is so engrossing I really enjoyed reading it. Read morePublished on June 4, 2010 by Vicki
We join the novels' nameless narrator, a playwright and friend of "actor" Molly Fox on a hot June day while she house-sits for the absent Molly. Read morePublished on May 24, 2010 by Red Rock Bookworm
I started reading this novel yesterday and finished it today. The narrator's voice is so engaging and I found myself completely enchanted by the characters and the lack of... Read morePublished on May 24, 2010 by Gabriel Oak
The degree of boredom in Molly Fox's Birthday is maddening. Superficially, this is a beautiful book. Read morePublished on May 20, 2010 by JM
It is no accident that the narrator of Molly Fox's Birthday remains nameless or that the book opens with her dream of "walking through the streets of a strange city, in a foreign... Read morePublished on April 27, 2010 by Jill I. Shtulman