Saturday, December 20, 2008
Remember when I read this book because it was set in Ireland? And how I was a wee bit disappointed in the lack of, well, Irishness? Evidently, Annie Dunne was the book I really wanted.
Still, this was a different book for me. I found it quite by accident, when I was wandering around barnesandnoble.com. I had a $25 gift card, and I was in the mood for something different. I started off looking at The Secret Scripture, but it was hardcover and I was trying to maximize the $25. So I ended up with Annie.
The year is 1959. The setting Wicklow, Ireland. Annie Dunne lives with her cousin Sarah on Sarah's small farm. Although both women are still strong and healthy, security is a worry for Annie, as she has already been turned out of one home. When Annie’s great-niece and great-nephew arrive to spend the summer with the women, and the local handyman starts to court Sarah, Annie is forced to take a hard look at herself, her surroundings, and her future.
Annie Dunne is told in the first person point of view, and it’s short on dialogue, something that I always struggle with. However, in this case Annie’s voice is so unique it carries the story. Alternately almost-pompous and very descriptive, Annie is a treat.
Although Annie is forced to face a changing Ireland and a changing world, what struck me most about this book was its detailed look into the daily life of rural Ireland. The farm chores and the household chores seem never-ending, and the book is a glimpse into a way of life that is not so distant but that still seems worlds away.