Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Authenticity” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  119 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
"A pitch-perfect depiction of the reality of the artistic life." —The Observer

"Excuse me?" She glanced back over her shoulder. He was looking at her with an expression of utter desolation, such as one rarely saw, an expression that literally stopped her in her tracks.

When painter Roderic Kennedy meets Julia Fitzpatrick, twenty years younger and also an artist, it seems as
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 1st 2005 by Graywolf Press (first published 2002)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Authenticity, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Authenticity

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Nov 26, 2014 Jill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All too often, when novelists write about the artistic process, they treat it as if it is a Serious, Weighty Matter. (I’m thinking of novels like The Blazing World, for one.) As a result, we, as readers, never get the sense of well-rounded characters.

For the most part, Deirdre Madden gets it right. In Authenticity, we meet three artists: Roderic Kennedy, whose single-minded passion for his art has turned him into a success but who leaves behind a broken marriage and severe bouts with alcoholism
Roger Brunyate
May 31, 2016 Roger Brunyate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ireland, art
Yes, yes, yes… oh YES!

Excuse the Joycean exuberance of my title, though not inappropriate for an Irish novel of such quality, but how else can you respond when you read a book that just gets everything so darned right? You shout it from the rooftops, buy copies for all your friends, sit down and read the thing all over again. This is a novel about art, and about love, about what happens when love fails you or you fail art, and the miracle when both succeed. It is both absolutely normal and const
Apr 16, 2007 heidipj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It's set in Dublin and focuses on the lives of a small cast of characters who are all linked to each other through art and love. The writing is subtle and nothing terribly dramatic happens but it's the characters that draw you in... They're still hanging somewhere in the back of my sub-conscious.

It's probably not everyone's cup of tea as it does move quite slowly and, as some of the characters are artists, it does go on a bit about the nature of art (which I loved).
Apr 12, 2011 Indu rated it really liked it
Shelves: add-to-libr
I really enjoyed the book. It was very interestingly written and explored the creative life and calling through various minds. That thread, as was written in the blurb, was what made me want to read the book initially and I am happy I did.
Jun 27, 2010 summer61 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great insights into the costs of following one's creative muse and also the costs of not following. Also down-to-earth observations about art-making in general. Well-paced and well-constructed; a psychological page-turner, with interesting jumps back and forth in time. With its focus on art-making, I was fascinated by this book; however, I was mildly disappointed in the ending; it had dramatic effect, but at the cost of relying on broader clichés about artists. This included the Vincent-Theo-lik ...more
Dec 24, 2013 JodiP rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bonnie Brody
Authenticity, by Deirdre Madden, is a book about art and artists. I was really looking forward to reading it but found it to be slow going and not at all as I had hoped. Roderic, the protagonist of the novel, is a successful painter who has followed his muse his whole life. He has been challenged by alcoholism, inability to sustain intimacy, and concern about the quality of his artwork. He has been sober for two years and is trying to re-establish his relationships with his estranged children.

Marsha Creary
Dec 27, 2016 Marsha Creary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Deidre Madden expertly shows you the lives of these characters along with who or what frames their existence. The conflicts, balance, counterbalance and friction of these relationships is also expressed along with each individual personality in their depth, complexity and idiosyncrasy. How these worlds fit comfortably, along with how they bristle and chafe whether that be in friendship, a romantic relationship, a working relationship or a familial context is shared in a thoughtful and insightful ...more
Sara Tys
Aug 08, 2007 Sara Tys rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I not quite sure why I liked this book so much; it's so different than what I usually read. I liked diving into the artistic world. Each charcter has their own struggles that correspond and contrast to the others. I loved the way this book was constantly in each new chapter you don't know where the author will take you.
Jaksie (jkcosmos) Cosmos
A bit of a challenge to stay engaged with the reading; narrative could be faster in tempo.
Am sticking with it as I am interested in creative process and this author has a handle on that reality. I also appreciate the setting; ahh...Dublin. Quite nice
Sarah Jean
This book is an easy, entertaining, relaxing read. I don't have any strong opinions on the plot, the characters or the style, but I can't think of any particular reason to read or not to read it. If I had one criticism it would be that it all resolves a little too neatly at the end.
Jan 27, 2012 MyBookAffair rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The joys of reading Deirdre Madden's novel 'Authenticity' were few and far between. The sorry fact is that I did not enjoy reading this book half as much as I had hoped. To read my full review see my blog :
Ann M
I found the nonlinear narrative distracting and annoying, and while the author writes well in places, other large sections are backstory purely told, and boring to read through. There are some good parts and interesting observations, but all in all, a slog I didn't finish.
Jul 13, 2012 Daniela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Не особено интересното резюме изобщо не подсказва какво се крие между страниците. Нещо което не очаквах да намеря там, но което дълго ще помня. Великолепно написана книга. Болезнено искрена също.
I like the this book but, did not overtake me but, it has its moments. I will keep the book just the same its a good book,but it didn't make a great impression on me.
Dec 02, 2010 Tara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quiet, contemplative novel about the lives of various artists and how they intersect.
Andrew Diamond
Nov 30, 2015 Andrew Diamond rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting and well-written book about what it means to live (and not live) the creative life. I wrote a little review at
Ulla Saar
Jul 27, 2016 Ulla Saar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
true and inspirational.
Elizabeth Shafer
Nov 06, 2014 Elizabeth Shafer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I thought one of the characters( Julia) was quite pretentious and irritating, I found this a very interesting novel.
Paul Jellinek
Mar 01, 2015 Paul Jellinek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember this one being very well written, but not much else, which is why I'm only giving it four stars.
Brandy Blaylock
Sep 09, 2008 Brandy Blaylock rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the way Madden portrays the life of an artist; the way if defines your personal relationships.
Jun 24, 2013 Nancy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
loved it!
Cass rated it liked it
Jun 06, 2015
Heather Tosteson
Heather Tosteson rated it it was amazing
May 06, 2013
Deirdre rated it it was ok
Jun 30, 2017
Solas Nua
Solas Nua rated it really liked it
Mar 26, 2008
Pavlina rated it liked it
Jun 01, 2011
switterbug (Betsey)
switterbug (Betsey) rated it it was amazing
May 19, 2012
Declan rated it did not like it
Aug 24, 2011
Therese rated it really liked it
Jul 25, 2011
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Truth Commissioner
  • The China Factory
  • Shamrock Tea
  • Everybody Matters
  • The Tempest: A Case Study in Critical Controversy
  • Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet: The Manga Edition
  • The Kings in Winter
  • Watching the Door: Drinking Up, Getting Down, and Cheating Death in 1970s Belfast
  • The Delicacy and Strength of Lace: Letters Between Leslie Marmon Silko and James Wright
  • The Cold Eye of Heaven
  • Art History and Its Methods: A Critical Anthology
  • Stealing the Mona Lisa: What Art Stops Us from Seeing
  • Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage (Stones of Aran #1)
  • The Dynamics of Creation
  • The Herring in the Library
  • 10,000 Years of Art
  • Vermeer
  • Reading Pictures: A History of Love and Hate
Deirdre Madden is from Toomebridge, County Antrim in Northern Ireland. She was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and at the University of East Anglia. In 1994 she was Writer-in-Residence at University College, Cork and in 1997 was Writer Fellow at Trinity College, Dublin. She has travelled widely in Europe and has spent extended periods of time in both France and Italy.
More about Deirdre Madden...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »