From Publishers Weekly
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 Huntley