Steven's Reviews > A Pagan Place

A Pagan Place by Edna O'Brien
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Apr 20, 08

it was amazing
bookshelves: novels, irish

O'Brien is one of my favorite writers and this was the first book of hers that I read, the one that hooked me. The first 69 pages are some of the most amazing writing I’ve ever read. Narrative convention is completely dispensed with—and think how risky that is at the start of a novel—as we enter into some kind of stream of consciousness rendering of childhood memories, not chronologically remembered, but jumping all over the place and taking in events of personal, family, village, and national significance, melding sensory detail with emotional trauma and joy, all with no apparent narrative motive except to characterize. Then as the narrator ages, the narrative gradually becomes more structured, less impressionistic, so that the reader participates in the change. That’s a great technique, and masterfully done by O’Brien.
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