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3.24 of 5 stars 3.24  ·  rating details  ·  365 ratings  ·  76 reviews
Een Ierse vrouw die niet lang meer te leven heeft, overdenkt in het ziekenhuis haar leven en de band met haar in Londen wonende dochter, die schrijfster is.
365 pages
Published (first published September 28th 2006)
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Sadly I cannot honestly say I liked this book and have therefore only given it two stars. I recognize that the writing itself is beautiful but that just was not enough to redeem the book. The author jumped around constantly between characters, place and time and I found myself having to guess when and where we actually were. She frequently seemed to start an explanation and then drifted away leaving so many things vague that I was just plain unsatisfied. It may be a while before I try this autho ...more
May 24, 2007 Sarah rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Feminist Faulknerians
The novel opens with "The past is never dead. It's not even past," words from Faulkner's Sound and the Fury (please correct this if I got the wrong book), and to an extent the novel is about the relationship between a mother living in rural Ireland and her cosmopolitan semi-famous novelist daughter who doesn't seem to have the time to visit. Beyond the geographical divide, O'Brien's novel is an exploration of the presentness of memory, it's ability to keep one rooted in the past while slipping t ...more
“…the milk-white china cups with their beautiful rims of gold, dimmed here and there from the graze of lips…” (3-4).
“…telling her that she would have to go to Dublin for observation. Observation for what? As is she were the night sky” (8).
“…I’ll never forget this moment, the hum of the bee, the saffron threads of the flower, the drawn blinds, nature’s assiduousness and human cruelty” (81).
“…finding himself outside under a roof of frozen stars…” (96).
“It was snowing in the vast cemetery in Brookl
Ally Atherton
Dilly is lying in her hospital bed and her thoughts fade in and out through the years of her life, from her frightening but exciting journey from Ireland to America in the 1920's, to lost love and her struggle to exist and to have a meaningful relationship with her children. Her lost daugher, Eleanora has her own struggles (and many lovers!) and is on her way to her dying mothers side.

This is another book that I came across on our bookshelf at work, having never read Edna O'Brien before I was i
Loved it, but struggled with it. Just as you think you are going to be given the secret, the "thing" that has been driven between this mother and daughter, you are led back around to something else. But it's there - I think it's there on the last page of Eleanora's journal, the one her mother wasn't supposed to read (or was she?), and then confirmed later when we're told of a young boy watching a woman storm up and down the banks of raging river. Or at least I think we're told. And the tragedy o ...more
Wendy Mao
Aug 03, 2014 Wendy Mao rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
I did not appreciate the style this book was written in.

Wildly disorganized, jumping back and forth in time, character, and narrative point-of-view. Dilly is an old lady suffering from shingles and ovarian cancer (or at least, she thinks she has it), who is being bullied by her son. She wants to see her daughter before she passes away, but her daughter is somewhat of a successful writer and has very little time.

The changing of first-person to third-person, and the jumping in between characters
John Thorndike

O’Brien can make you work: “Men are queer fish hard and soft both all pie when they want you so sweet and whispery sweeter than a woman then not.”

Or she can write as if wielding a blade: “Gabriel, the man she might have tied the knot with except that it was not meant to be. Putting memories to sleep, like putting an animal down.”

I’m not alone in finding the book’s first 120 pages a work of genius, the middle of the book erratic and sometimes confusing, and the end more genius, as an aging Dill
Lovely book. I like way Edna O'Brien writes -- beautiful, lyrical, poetic.
The blood, of course,I a about family dysfunction -- one of O'Brien's favorite topics -- particularly about
Mother/ daughter struggles for closeness and understanding, while being unable to achieve that.

You also hear about the morher's (Dilly's) time in New York as a young woman -- and can feel the hustle and bustle of Brooklyn.
But poor Dilly is betrayed there by girl friends and a boyfriend -- although maybe that was a
This is the first Edna O'Brien novel I've read... picked it up because I wanted to read something by her and it was the only thing on the library shelf. I can't say that I actually liked the story because it was more O'Brien's writing style that kept me reading. Every word matters. Every detail invokes Dilly's desperation in not living the full life she was meant for, especially her passive-aggressiveness in the letters, and her daughter not finding real happiness in the life she has (one that m ...more
Jennifer Kepesh
O'Brien is a writerly writer who seems to care more about the paragraph or the scene than the overall narrative arc, or perhaps she prefers to obscure that narrative by shifting narrators, voice, an time. She evokes place and era wonderfully, and brings the reader so close into the narrator's world that the reader's perspective is blurred. She leaves out many pieces of the story, and the reader must take long steps between them, like walking on stones across a stream; it is inevitable that conne ...more
Dilly Macready lies in her hospital bed, waiting to be reunited with her daughter, Eleanora. Their relationship has been strained, separated by distance and by lifestyle choice. But O'Brien narrates this story from the third person and also from letters written by mothers to daughters.

This is my first novel by Edna O'Brien, and upon it's reading, I can understand why she is so highly praised. She is a master wordsmith - the descriptive nature of her prose, the connections she makes and the messa
Vivian Valvano
I strongly suspect that this novel is an attempt by O'Brien to deal with the complicated relationship she had with her mother - but I don't like to read novels over-biographically and don't believe that they should appear over-biographical if they are truly art. In this case, it seems to me that O'Brien had a hard time fictionalizing. Of course, I could be wrong. But feeling like I was somewhere between memoir and fiction was a bit disconcerting. Dilly, the mother, is a fascinating character, an ...more
Mar 14, 2008 Michelle rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mothers and daughters of all ages
Recommended to Michelle by: passed it walking along the library aisle
Shelves: fiction
Beautiful, sentimental, harsh...I loved it-but since I can't find the words I'll let the book speak for itself-here's the prologue...

'There is a photograph of my mother as a young woman in a white dress, standing by her mother who is seated out-of-doors on a kitchen chair, in front of a plantation of evergreen trees. Her mother is staring with a grave expression, her gnarled fingers clasped in prayer. Despite the virgin marvel of the white dress and the obligingness of her stance, my m
This was a gorgeous book. Easily one of the best novels I'll end up reading in 2013. Edna O'Brien can do no wrong.

The prose is lyrical, evocative and loaded with deep, conflicting emotions that play out in bittersweet tones. The Light of Evening is not an easy read, and definitely not summertime beach fodder. It's the kind of novel that you savor, like sipping 20 year old tawny port.

The plot revolves around the difficult and contradictory relationship between a mother and her children, specifi
Reading Edna O'Brien's latest novel was sort of like reading a cross between James Joyce -- I definitely noticed his influence here -- and Alice Munro, and maybe a little Virginia Woolf, too. I wish I remembered more of The House of Splendid Isolation, which I read in 2000. Reading this was a lovely yet somewhat devastating experience, but then, I read about mothers and daughters differently now. The story centers around Dilly, a woman dying from ovarian cancer, and Eleanora, her daughter. Elean ...more
Bookmarks Magazine

Edna O'Brien's 20th work of fiction does what all of her novels do: it lyrically expounds on the dizzying power of love. Nevertheless, reviews were mixed. Light of Evening is simultaneously overwrought, sentimental, forceful, and heartbreakingly true__even if the tacked-on conclusion felt strained. The narrative shifts between third-person points of view, stream of consciousness, and diary entries also caused a problem for some reviewers, including Erica Wagner from the New York Times Book Revie

Lorraine McDonald
An interesting portrayal of a complicated mother-daughter relationship. Beautifully written, I enjoyed the layers in the characters & the detail in the story. However in the 2nd half of the book I got a little lost & never quite found my way back. Maybe I didn't try hard enough but I didn't really get the revelation at the end?
June Creedon
The Characters

I had a difficult time keeping the characters straight and the experiences in order at the beginning. I could relate to the difficulties of farming. I've experienced too many times the backstabbing that incurs an inheritance. My mother felt the same way in her latter years. She was so tired of the pain, the past and the future. Many of the letters Dilly wrote to her daughter, Elenora, were similar to the letters my mom wrote to me in the 1980's when the price of a phone call was a
I've read some really good Edna O'Brien books, but I don't think this is one of them. I've read stories with similar plots that were much better done. I didn't feel very engaged with the characters and didn't feel very connected to the main character's experience.
Dec 10, 2014 Pat added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wi
Didn't hate the book, but didn't draw us in. Enjoyed some of the descriptive passages, but on the whole, a disappointing read.
The style is a bit oblique. I sometimes found it difficult to integrate the various narratives. but strong, evocative language. She is clearly a master.
I really enjoyed this novel. Even though at times it felt too self-consciously literary, I thought it was a nice representation of a contentious mother-daughter relationship. Rather than explicitly stating that her mother was over-bearing and a little manipulating, but that the author felt guilty for keeping her distance, the author told the story from her mother's point of view, so I was always rooting for and cared about her mother. It was at once sweet and mature. At the end, you see more fro ...more
Cindy Merritt
I read 100 pages and quit. I just didn't find the story or the characters engaging or interesting.

The preview sounded like something I'd like, especially given my relationship with my mother. Based in Ireland, the mother waits for a visit from her long-estranged daugther, an author who moved away to London years before. The story talks about the mother's previous life, the only thread that holds the two together - a old farm called Rusheen -- and about the daughter's efforts to be "herself". But the writing was too "too" for me....there is a surprise ending but again it left me cold, like th
I read a lot of Edna O'Brien when I was in my 20's living in New Zealand. She and I have both aged 40 years since then. This book is about very dysfunctional Mother-Daughter relationships and as a side-bar really bad marriages. I really liked the first part but had trouble with finding any resolution in the end - perhaps because there is none. I think the book has a large autobiographical component. Was selected by a number of newspapers as the best book of the year when it was published. Again ...more
Edna O'Brien is consistently the best Irish author since Joyce. Her delineation of Dilly, the shee-mother-monster, is brilliant. Her final chapter, a litany of letters read by the daughter, is the best thing I've read since Molly Bloom drifted off to sleep. And all this after the sheer gothic terror of In The Woods. Were this plot not so distractingly autobiographical, it would be easier to see, and acknowledge, that no Irish writer, and few of any nationality, can make that foreign language of ...more
a beautiful, tender, honest, and heart-wrenching story about a daughter, her mother, and life. ah. the irish writer -- nonpareil ... james joyce, frank mccourt, and now edna o'brien ... so went the sequence of my reading irish writers. depressed, depressing, lyrical, captivating story tellers. all excellent. all exhausting. all worth the time. these stories live on in my own life. amazing. i wonder if it's just me or if other readers are captivated in this way by irish writers and the stories th ...more
5.11.12 started this book last night, I think. I like the writing but the story is sooooo sad. Hurrying to get to the end!

5.14.12 finished this book this morning. Very sad - such a depressing book, which I certainly don't need. One word review would be "WHY?"

Only 293 pages long. I will say "some" of the writing was very LYRICAL. And beautiful...but overall? my humble opinion. Someone else, perhaps better reader, will have a different opinion.

Would not recommend to the readers i know.
Enjoyed this Edna O'Brien - my first but not my last. A novel of mothers and daughters.

Dilly is determined to leave the problems of Ireland behind her when she goes to America. She becomes a maid, and has an unhappy affair. Eventually she decides to return to Ireland where she marries and has a family. Her daughter, Eleanor becomes a novelist, and marries a man that her mother disapproves of. The split between mother and daughter widens to such an extent that it will never be bridged.
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ı wonder answer 1 9 May 22, 2010 12:54AM  
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Edna O’Brien (b. 1930), an award-winning Irish author of novels, plays, and short stories, has been hailed as one of the greatest chroniclers of the female experience in the twentieth century. She is the 2011 recipient of the Frank O’Connor Prize, awarded for her short story collection Saints and Sinners. She has also received, among other honors, the Irish PEN Award for Literature, the Ulysses Me ...more
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“A mother with an infant but without a father was not welcomed in the new world. “You kilt it.” “She kilt it.” “I had no milk for it,” she answered back.” 0 likes
“It was no longer her sleeping room, it was our sleeping room now. We made friends the night it thundered, big claps of it and forked lightning flared then sizzled inside the room, she cowering under my bed, terrified that Eric Eric, the man with the clapper who broke up the big ships in the harbor in Malmo, was coming for her.” 0 likes
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