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Ghost Light: A Novel Paperback – January 3, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
Joseph O'Connor with a virtuosic, literary master stroke has melded fact with fiction in this captivating tribute to love ~ the story of Irish playwright J M Synge and his lover Molly Allgood, the Irish actress with the stage name of Maire O'Neill. This beautiful novel of Irish lore and lyricism has given me hours and hours of pure reading pleasure. Ghost Light: A Novel is so stunning that I found myself rereading paragraphs or entire pages over and over again just to revel in literary excellence.
When I come across a book like this in which I am particularly captivated, I mark certain pages that I want to reread again later with little slips of paper. When I finished this book, I had to laugh at myself because practically all of its pages have little slips of paper sticking out between them! This is one of those rare books where one can open up to any page and find the most extraordinary language, imagery, metaphor, or a passage or phrase that will transport one to another time, another place. For many of these remarkable qualities I am reminded of James Joyce and Virginia Woolf and I know that this book is of those great traditions and deserves to be read again and again.
Yet it is not a book for everybody. Many will not appreciate the stream of consciousness narrative.Read more ›
The novel is about a grand love affair between Molly Allgood, an actress (stage name Maire O'Neill) and the playwright John Synge, most well-known for his play, Playboy of the Western World. The book starts out in 1952 on the streets of post-war London. Molly, 67 years old, is walking the cold blustery city and freezing. She lives in a hovel and drinks too much. She is hungry and cold, going from one sheltered spot to another and hallucinating from the the alcohol, her hunger and her freezing. She is on her way to a BBC radio reading and on her way she remembers, in broken dream sequences, her relationship with John Synge.
Molly and John Synge had an affair and at the time of their affair she was eighteen years old and he was thirty-six. John was very ill, most likely with lymphoma but perhaps tuberculosis or some other lung disease. He had one neck surgery after another. He lived only two years after they met. They came from opposite sides of the tracks. Molly was an actress who was from a mixed marriage - protestant and catholic - and she worked with her mother in a drapery shop. John came from old money and was of protestant background. He had a symbiotic relationship with his mother which made his relationship with Molly doomed from the start as his mother would not permit him to bring Molly home and threatened to cut off his trust fund should he marry her.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this book in Connemara to read while on holiday there. Fascinating! Much of it is written in the second person which is not a common style. Read morePublished 1 day ago by fran
A loving recreation of a time and place, an actress near to dying remembers Synge , their fraught love and her difficult existence. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Marialinda Suppo
"Ghost Light" is a totally captivating read - intense, emotional and magnificently written. I had to stop reading more often than I am used to, sometimes because the... Read morePublished 15 months ago by keetmom
I really tried to read this book (for my book club), made it halfway, but, although there are some good passages and paragraphs (the author can write well), the overall result was... Read morePublished 15 months ago by eleemosynary
A delightful revelation of an aging Irish actress through her thoughts, memories and interactions with other people. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Dee Stegman
It filled in a lot of information that I didn't know about John Millington Synge and Maire O'Neill aka Molly or Mary Allgood. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Patricia OConnor
This book reduced me to a weepy mess more than once. The writing is lyrical and captivating. While the story is less than linear and the characters often charades of themselves... Read morePublished 22 months ago by mrs.ecox