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Annie Dunne (Dunne Family)

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  773 Ratings  ·  132 Reviews
Annie Dunne and her cousin Sarah live and work on a small farm in a remote and beautiful part of Wicklow in late 1950s Ireland. All about them the old green roads are being tarred, cars are being purchased, a way of life is about to disappear. Like two old rooks, they hold to their hill in Kelsha, cherishing everything. When Annie's nephew and his wife go to London to find ...more
Hardcover, 228 pages
Published August 26th 2002 by Viking Adult (first published 2002)
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Mar 02, 2012 Tony rated it really liked it
Shelves: irish
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
Jan 27, 2015 Fionnuala rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: place
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
Jan 14, 2008 Eli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 04, 2014 Teresa rated it really liked it
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.
John Needham
Jan 28, 2014 John Needham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 20, 2011 Colleen rated it really liked it
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
Dec 26, 2011 Elaine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
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
Jul 29, 2008 Teri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 13, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: irish
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
Jul 08, 2009 Carla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 13, 2014 Lucinda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 04, 2013 Loraine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 29, 2009 Frank rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish-authors
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
Oct 04, 2010 Bruce rated it really liked it
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
Mar 18, 2012 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 01, 2015 Tammy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book with the language needs to be read in longer sittings. Once you get the cadance going it is interesting. I loved this book because it is so different than other things I have read....One story line in the book didn't fit, so I'm wondering if she addresses it later in the series. You can feel, smell and see the countryside.
Doriana Bisegna
Dec 20, 2012 Doriana Bisegna rated it really liked it
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 high drama, no plot twists nor turns...just a simple tale of two elderly ...more
Feb 04, 2012 Trish rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Dec 28, 2008 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
This novel, Annie Dunne, just didn’t draw me in. I lost interest about of the way. There is no denying the descriptive passages are beautifully written. There wasn’t much ‘story’ to accompany these descriptions of everyday rural life in Ireland. There were, however, many opportunities to develop a story. I forced myself to finish the book because it was for book club.
Barry’s character development of the protagonist Annie is full and deep, likewise Billy’s character is developed fairly well. He
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
Sally Lewis
Aug 20, 2009 Sally Lewis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.

May 19, 2010 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 18, 2009 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nina Rossing
Jan 03, 2016 Nina Rossing rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, irish, adult, 2016
A quiet gem.
Jan 24, 2012 Katherine rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
“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
Feb 04, 2010 Tony rated it really liked it
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
Mar 23, 2013 Rick rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
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
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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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
More about Sebastian Barry...

Other Books in the Series

Dunne Family (4 books)
  • The Steward of Christendom (Dunne Family #1)
  • A Long Long Way
  • On Canaan's Side

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