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Ghost Light: A Novel Hardcover – February 1, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
O'Connor (Redemption Falls) presents a turbulent love story loosely based on the relationship between Irish playwright John Synge and actress Molly Allgood. The story opens in post-WWII London, where Molly is a spinster with a fondness for drink, but through a series of reminiscences the reader learns that, in her youth, she was a promising actress out of the poorer quarters of Dublin. Working in a theater group that included her more talented older sister and W.B. Yeats, Molly soon develops an attraction to the significantly older playwright Synge. She is pugnacious and ambitious, he circumspect and introverted, but the two secretly fall in with one another, and over the course of years they struggle with the differences in their age, class, and religion, and with their respective temperaments and expectations. The voice of old, broken Molly is an impressive creation, and the narrative convincingly plunges the reader into a tumultuous and tender account of a tortured romance, though some of O'Connor's stylistic choices (notably abrupt tense and perspective shifts within Molly's head) impede narrative momentum and yield a reading experience that feels heavy and too hazy. (Feb.)
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In 1950s London, a drunken, broken-down old woman recalls her passionate love affair with a gifted playwright. O’Connor fictionalizes the real-life relationship between promising young actress Molly Allgood and tortured playwright J.M. Synge, author of The Playboy of the Western World. When 18-year-old Molly joins the celebrated Abbey Theater ensemble in 1907, she quickly becomes enamored of the extremely talented but emotionally remote Synge. As the action stretches back and forth between post-WWII London and Edwardian Dublin, the bittersweet disconnect between the vital and passionate Molly of the past and the shuffling survivor of the present is heartrending. Although plenty of poetic license is taken in rendering this rumored love story, the emotional impact of the narrative rings true. --Margaret Flanagan
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Top customer reviews
The hertbreak of yesterday is the very reason she is still alive, although in great destitution.No one remembers her, or so few.
Generosity to a litlle admirer is the mark of a noble nature. O'Connor great writer of atmosphere and historic detail. Hail to the writer.