The Little Red Chairs
When a wanted war criminal, masquerading as a healer, settles in a small west coast Irish village, the community are in thrall. One woman, Fidelma McBride, falls under his spell and in this searing novel, Edna O'Brien charts the consequence of that fatal attraction. This is a story about love, the artifice of evil and the terrible necessity of accountability in our shatter...more
You live in a quaint, if a little busybody, Irish hamlet, a beauty swept off her feet by a much older man, walking down the aisle in your well-earned white wedding dress. 15, 20 years pass in your nice little humdrum life with ...more
The Little Red Chairs begins in a small Irish town full of quirky small-town types, like Stars Hollow but with more nuns. A mysterious stranger named Vlad shows up and sets up shop as a "healer," with botanical remedies and m/>The ...more
Europeans are more likely than Americans to catch the poignant allusion in O’Brien’s title, ...more
The title of this book is explained at the outset which definitely flavors one's reading.
On the 6th of April 2012, to commemorate the
twentieth anniversary of the start of the siege
of Sarajevo by Bosnian Serb forces, 11,541 red
chairs,were laid out in rows along the eight
hundred metres of the Saraje ...more
Just random notes:
The Bosnian war. Brutal, barbaric, shocking. Graphic.
The mores and values of an Irish community: good and bad.
A naive woman falls in love with a monster. She faces the consequences.
London: war refugees from different countries relate their stories.
A trial in The Hague concludes the book.
And I just close the book exhausted, traumatized, and walk away, just as unsentimental as the author presented the tale.
I need some ...more
Wow this is a tough one to rate. At 15% I almost abandoned this. Then I saw in another readers review that Juliet Stevenson was the audiobook narrator. As she is my favorite female narrator I decided to give the audio a go. I have seen several reviews that comment on the brutality of this and it is horribly brutal but that isn't why I was having problems. This reads (especially in the beginning) like a series of short stories or vignettes. The prose is breathtaking I had to ...more
On the menu tonight; contemporary fiction deconstructed! What an interesting way to present a story! There are multiple points of views - the roll call includes the voices of individual characters and of the disenfranchised, the victims and survivors of many acts of atrocities in many regions and finally we hear the true voice of perpetrator when being held to account for his actions. The pace is erratic – unsettling but eventually compelling. Violence, love and compassion share th ...more
Fidelma McBride is a poor young woman who marries up. The exchange of a new position in life for marriage is not a satisfactory one for her. She fal ...more
I will say that despite a few issues with this novel, I was completely engrossed in this boo ...more
It was like the author couldn't decide what kind of book to write, so she combined seemingly disparate elements that really are disparate for a reason! The little red chairs se ...more
I received the book for free from NetGalley and started reading it without any prior knowledge of it (or the genre or the author) whatsoever.
I didn't get it at all -and literary fiction is my favourite genre! Can someone please explain what was going on? Poor, fake "oirish" accent, some bizzarre New Age healing and stupid writing. I will now read some reviews of it, trying to make sense of it all.
Note: My lovely home town gets a mentation in this novel but the spelling is a little different.
This is the book that liberated me from the slump and in fact started me off on a reading streak of great books. This review was originally published at Litbreak.com.
What if a war criminal appeared in your town and passed himself off as a poet and holistic healer? What if your town was a small isolated place and the man is handsome in a brooding mysterious way? It could happen that he would be secretly sought after by women wit ...more
O'Brien writes so beautifully. Her prose in Juliet Stevenson's mouth is a literary apotheosis; it is impossible not to give that performance all your attention and all your respect. This book often seems more like vignettes than a conventional novel, yet each of these miniatures leaps off the "page" (what is the audio equivalent? "Leaps off the app" just sounds wrong!), each one could be the seed, it seems, of a whole novel.
As others have said, there are scenes o ...more
I know that for me this book did not work, it has many good attributes but it never managed to engage me with the main character or the message proposed by the book. Fidelma the main character is such a contradiction and so unintelligent sometimes it hurts. The village where the story starts is not real in all its minutiae, the locals discuss the Aenids And Didos dilema or spend time plying A Midsummer Night's Dream. This are not the normal endeavors of working ...more