- Fizzy Thoughts: Annie Dunne

Annie Dunne

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Annie Dunne
Sebastian Barry
228 pages

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.

12 comment(s):

bermudaonion said...

That sounds good - I always try to imagine if I could survive a life like that. Thanks for the review.

Beth F said...

Great review. I'm a sucker for an Irish setting. Will be adding this to wish list. Love the cover.

Eva said...

Like Beth, I love the cover! And if you're looking for uber-Irish fiction, have you tried Ireland by Frank Delaney? I love it. :)

Dar said...

This sounds really good Jill. Like Kathy I wonder if I could survive a life like that-not thinking I could. I do like books set in Ireland though-I'll have to see if this is available in Canada.

michelle of bleeding espresso said...

Ooh looks like I'd love this. Thanks for the review!

And happy holidays :)

dawn said...

I'm glad you found the "Irishness" you were seeking :)

I recently read *The Islands of Divine Music* which has no dialogue (in the traditional sense; that is, there are no quotation marks and this "non-dialogue" is very limited). I liked it because it focused on the actions and the thoughts of the central character in each story. Writers are skilled to be able to pull that off!

Veens said...

I lOVE the cover! No doubt about it :)
Well, I read a book by Ireland author Anne ENright, didn't like it :) -- The Gathering [ booker winner]

but I am ready to try another one.. and this one sounds good :)

cali said...

I'll definitely be looking into this book. Your review made me think of a song I haven't thought of or heard for a very long time. I have it on my blog.

Bookfool said...

That cover is a real grabber. I think I'll have to look for this one. I'm glad you found the Irishness you were seeking!

softdrink said...

The cover is a photograph by Dorothea Lange...there's another one on the back cover of women walking to Sunday mass.
I always thought Lange was a US Depression photographer...I never knew she went to Ireland.

Heather J. said...

this sounds like a great book for me - I LOVE reading about Ireland, even when it is "just" the setting - and this sounds like it would be a great read

lisamm said...

Sounds fascinating and I love the photography. Thanks for a great review. I love that you read titles that I don't see in other places!

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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