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Annie Dunne (Dunne Family)

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  626 ratings  ·  116 reviews
Annie Dunne and her cousin Sarah live and work on a small farm in a remote and beautiful part of Wicklow in the 1950s. All around them life is changing, and when Annie's nephew and his wife go to London in search of work, their two children are sent to spend the summer with their great aunt.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 19th 2003 by Faber and Faber (first published 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,445)
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Tony
Has anyone else noticed? In movies, a character's name alone can define.

I submit to you: Annie.

In the movies, Annies are always: cute/pretty/beautiful; perky/down-to-earth; inquisitive to intelligent/well-read; loyal/wholesome; a perfect woman for a good man.

Think about it.

In Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner is devoted to 'Annie', in jeans and flannel shirts, a Berkeley degree, who believes in magic and the first amendment.

Sleepless in Seattle. Tom Hanks will never marry again. Except his son find
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Eli
A simply wonderful read! Not plot-driven -- young brother and sister spend the summer with two spinster aunts on a small farm in Ireland -- but, oh, the writing is positively lyrical. No doubt this guy is Irish!

"At length against the long impulse of the night I go out into the starry yard to comfort the long ropes of my muscles and the field sticks of my bones. I carry the bed heat on the surface of my skin and the soft breeze of the night shows a great interest in me, raising the hairs on my ar
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Teresa
This starts off slowly -- which isn't a criticism -- spinning its tale and characterization and themes as a spider spins a graceful web. The beautiful, lyrical prose gets better and better as the story goes on.
Colleen
You should not read Annie Dunne for action or a complicated plot. Sebastian Barry is a beautiful writer and tells this slice-of-life tale in the most lyrical way. Annie Dunne and her cousin, Sarah, live on a farm in 1950s Ireland. Day by day, they toil away, trying to understand and adjust to the progress sweeping across Ireland. This daily routine is upended by the arrival of a girl and her brother, the children of Annie's nephew, who will stay with the two older women for the summer while thei ...more
Teri
Jul 29, 2008 Teri rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: lovers of Ireland and novels with a genuine voice
I just finished reading this little gem of a book. Lovely and touching in many ways. Set in 1957 Ireland, the novel is told form the point of view of a 60-ish "spinster" who lives with a cousin on a farm in County Wicklow. Her nephew leaves his children with her, ages 4 and 6, for the summer. But this isn't a book about plot so much as a constant knowing of someone's very honest mind. Annie's descriptions are original and evocative, yet reflecting her personality and character.

I chose this book
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Sarah
The writing is beautiful. The story is of changing times; what once was is no more or quickly fading. Though I found the story slow I enjoyed seeing Annie Dunne's thoughts versus her words.

Annie struggles within herself to know her own self and place in the world. She is critical of others until she is shown otherwise, awkward in communicating with others. Though seemingly gruff I think she has a desire to love and be loved. It seems her own childhood hurts and self-loathing are large factors in
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John Needham
Simply superb. This is the third novel I’ve read by Sebastian Barry (the others were The Secret Scripture and A Long Long Way) and he’s yet to disappoint. I doubt he ever will though. I hate to descend into stereotype (although I really don’t do so disparagingly), but after reading just one sentence you know these are the words of an Irish writer, and a very fine one at that. If you want to experience something of what life was like living and eking out a tiny agricultural living in long-ago 195 ...more
Carla
At least one writer out there is willing to explore the heart and mind of someone who is not a contemporary, college-degreed, high-performing, successful but tormented over consumer who travels to Provence and dabbles in serial mating.
Loraine
For much of this book, I did not feel drawn to picking it up but when I did, I had a hard time putting it down. I think the ambivalence is that the writing is so good but it brought me to a very uncomfortable place all the time. It was actually like a scary film, with danger lurking behind every shadow, like when you don't want to look but you can't turn it off either. I kept thinking, "oh no, don't go there, Annie!" My chest was tight with the suspense, the kind of suspense that i do not like, ...more
Frank
It took me a long while to get into this book, and get "into" the character of Annie Dunne. She's not very likeable, and musings—lyrical though they are—do not seem genuine, do not seem to fit the character or the personal history the author created for her. I did come to like the book more as the 'drama' of events—quiet and personal as they were—unfolded.

When I was about a quarter way into it I wrote:
I must say the prose is lovely, but seems to me somehow "disingenuous". My own mother grew up
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Bruce
Told in the omniscient first-person voice by Annie Dunne, an elderly spinster living on a farm in County Wicklow, Ireland, with her equally old cousin, Sarah, this is the story of a summer in 1959 when she cares for her grand-niece and grand-nephew, age 6 and 4. The prose is typical Barry, lilting and lyrical, with all the delightful syntax of rural Ireland. I try to read it in my version of an Irish brogue and am captivated by Barry’s gentleness and sensitivity, his ability to capture the ambia ...more
Elaine
I read and reviewed a Barnes & Noble Nook eBook edition.

Sebastian Barry makes us privy to that neverending internal dialogue we all engage in as we go about our daily doings. In superb prose, which brilliantly evokes Irish speech without the annoying misspellings characteristic of attempts to portray dialects, Barry allows us into Annie's rich internal meanderings: her resentments, her fears, her worries, memories, her delight in the yeasty smell of unbaked loaves of bread, and her genuine c
...more
Jeff
Annie Dunne is a hunchbacked spinster living with her cousin in rural Ireland in the 1950's. She is asked to care for her young grand niece and nephew for a summer and as she tells of the mostly mundane events and hours of drudgery of that summer, the reader learns much of her life story, which turns out to be compelling. As much a character study as it is a novel, we learn of her fears and disappointments as well as her hopes and joys. The writing style is almost poetic and the Irish ways of sp ...more
Doriana Bisegna
Sebastian Barry does it again! I read The Secret Scripture and knew that I had come across a very talented writer. I have no idea why Irish fiction stirs my soul since I am as Irish as rigatoni with a bolognese sauce but alas it does just that! So does rigatoni with bolognese sauce but that would be for another time and maybe another story! Annie Dunne cracked me up as much as she angered me! The story is non eventful...no high drama, no plot twists nor turns...just a simple tale of two elderly ...more
Trish
A slow moving book with lots of character development. It takes place in Wicklow, Ireland in the late 1950s. Annie and her cousin Sarah, both spinsters, adjust to life when their brother drops of his youong son and daughter for them to care for while he sorts out his life. The kids adjust to country life and Annie slowly figures out some dark history of her niece and nephew's young lives.
Annie is trying to figure out her feelings for her late father, the love for her cousin and how she fits int
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Fionnuala
There is nothing petty about Annie Dunne. She is, to the core of her being, an angry and bitter woman, but one possessed of a poet's sensibilities and a brave and loyal heart. Thank you, Sebastien Barry for creating this wonderful character and for preserving her, along with her rural Wicklow life, for future generations. I hope they will be able to appreciate her worth.
P. S. Sebastian Barry revisits Annie Dunne in his more recent novel "On Canaan's Side", which tells the story of Annie's younge
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Darlene Franklin
Thank you author and publisher for allowing me to read Annie dunne. This book combines an engaging locale and colorful characters in real life Ireland. Gives the reader a new understanding of experiences and environment combined.
Stephanie
Two aging spinsters barely make a living on a small farm in Ireland in the 1950s. For a summer, Annie gets to care for her neice and nephew while their parents are getting settled in London.Parenting a four year old boy and a six year old girl are challenging, but when a man decides to try to marry her companion Sarah, she finds her world crashing down around her. Sebastian Berry understands the thoughts and feelings of an elderly woman and writes this story using Annie's voice.Reading it you ca ...more
Nancy Rossman
A lovely novel about two older women, cousins, forced to live together in order to survive. It is the 1950's in rural Ireland.

Some novels are plot driven, some are historically accurate, or then ... like this, strong character driven pieces. The last is this one.

Beautiful writing in the way I would characterize as writing from the inside out. There is a gentle pace, nothing much happens and you slowly see Annie, with her hunchback, and Sarah. Sarah has had a life, been with a man, has humor and
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Lucinda
Another fantastic Sebastian Barry novel.
As part of a series that follows the fortunes of the Dunne family, this one catches up with Annie Dunne when she is entering her 'old age'and dealing with the insecurity of a woman who is dependent on others for a place to call home. There is a lot of tragedy in Annie Dunne, but they are tragedies of the smaller kind, ones that stem from the accumulation of years spent with lack of opportunity, lack of acknowledgement for one's contributions, with a growi
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Sally Lewis
Let me tell you a little about Annie Dunne, a slight and remarkable woman inhabiting a world in rural Ireland that no longer exists outside the imagination of her creator. In lilting and evocative prose Sebastian Barry brings us into Annie's cottage, her farm yard, her life. We help her make butter and suffer her slights, her spites but mostly the fierce joy and love she feels. Best written book I've read in a very long time.

Anne
Poor Annie. She's a fascinating character, but I had that uneasy "I Love Lucy" feeling, that she was going to screw up in some way and make trouble for herself. She was born with enough trouble as it is. There isn't a lot of plot in Annie Dunne, but Sebastian Barry's writing and character development could carry me through anything. The setting in 1950s rural Ireland is an in-between, awkward place very like Annie herself.
Megan
I really loved this book--I had to read it in tiny morsels because the prose was so poetic and lush, and the storytelling so spare and patient. It was a truffle of a book, for this Irish girl.
Katherine
“And there is no thrashing about of branches to disturb the children, who, after all, are city children, and need time to adjust, and not just to the butter. Salted, unsalted, that is the difference, salted and unsalted life” (9).
“A day of hardship is a long day, good times shorten the day, and yet a life in itself is but the breadth of a farthing” (10).
“I am thinking about nothing, slipping from one idle thing to the next as one does beside a fire” (10).
“Billy Kerr…is a man with no qualities. T
...more
Tony
Barry, Sebastian. ANNIE DUNNE. (2002). ****. This was Barry’s third novel, and one very different from the others in style. It is the story of Annie, an old woman who lives with her cousin Sarah on a farm in Wicklow. It is the late 1950s, and things in Ireland are changing; roads are being paved, people are buying cars, and Annie’s way of life, as she knows it, is disappearing. The farm is Annie’s last refuge. She has nowhere else to go, and views the figure of Billy Kerr, an old bachelor from t ...more
Rick
Where On Canaan’s Side, the story of Lillie Dunne, spanned a lifetime, Annie Dunne covers a few months in 1959 of the life of Lillie’s sister. Annie is a spinster living on her cousin’s country farm in Wicklow. The two women are asked to mind Annie’s niece and nephew for a few weeks while their parents gets settled in their relocation to London. The children are young and city kids who have spent summers in Wicklow as Annie did when she was growing up in Dublin, daughter to Dublin police officer ...more
Susan
You can tell Sebastian Barry is a poet. Every line in this book is beautiful. This is a quiet tale of an aging Irish woman who lives on her cousin's farm, and during one summer in the 1950's, she takes care of two young children, her great-niece and great-nephew. Though most people would hardly call the events of this summer world-shattering, for Annie Dunne it is a defining experience, and most of it takes place in her own mind. I truly love this author.

An example of Barry's prose: "Outside the
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CuteBadger
Annie Dunne is an elderly spinster living with her cousin in the rural Ireland of the late 1950s. Hers is a small life where she has never really felt wanted. Her nephew leaves his son and daughter with Annie while he goes to London in search of work, and the arrival of the children shakes up her dull and marginalised life, with positive and negative consequences.

As a child in the late 1960s I spent a lot of time on my grandparents farm in Northern Scotland, and there is much in this novel that
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Marianne
Annie Dunne is the 7th novel by Irish author Sebastian Barry. It is set in Co. Wicklow in the late 1950’s and is narrated by Annie Dunne, daughter of Thomas Dunne (The Steward of Christendom) and younger sister of Willie Dunne (A Long Long Way). After years of caring for her ailing sister Maud in Dublin, and then, after her death, Maud’s husband Matt and their three sons, Annie Dunne is left homeless when Matt decides to remarry. Her Wicklow cousin, Sarah Cullen, offers Annie a place at her farm ...more
Chapple
Humpbacked and penniless, Annie Dunne harbors a bittersweet longing for the husband and family she's never had. Cast out by her borther-in-law after her sister's death, Annie has found a home with her cousin, Sarah, on a hardscrabble faim in rural County Wicklow, Ireland. The backbreaking labor is nearly more than the two aging women can manage but Annie tackles each task with an appreciation for the small pleasures each day brings. The summer brings two unsettling events. Annie's nephew leaves ...more
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Sebastian Barry is an Irish playwright, novelist and poet. He is noted for his dense literary writing style and is considered one of Ireland's finest writers

Barry's literary career began in poetry before he began writing plays and novels. In recent years his fiction writing has surpassed his work in the theatre in terms of success, having once been considered a playwright who wrote occasional nove
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More about Sebastian Barry...
The Secret Scripture A Long Long Way On Canaan's Side The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty The Temporary Gentleman

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