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The Resource Annie Dunne, Sebastian Barry

Annie Dunne, Sebastian Barry

Label
Annie Dunne
Title
Annie Dunne
Statement of responsibility
Sebastian Barry
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Award
Booklist Editors' Choice, 2002.
Review
  • /*Starred Review*/ SOP for American best-sellers--make the protagonists mostly rich and beautiful, ’cause no one wants to read about the poor and ugly--is crushed by the weight of Irish playwright Barry’s utterly hypnotic, small novel. Annie Dunne, crippled in body and spirit, is so poor that only the generosity of her cousin, the once-fair Sarah, keeps her from the workhouse in the late 1950s in rural County Wicklow. Annie helps Sarah keep up the family farm--barely, for the work is almost beyond the two aging women’s combined strength. They are what we would now call domestic partners, adapted to one another in the subtle way of long-married people. Although they share a bed, there isn’t a hint of sexual impropriety between them. Yet unexpressed desire suffuses their lives, making the small farm a passionately loved place. Barry is especially good at describing the sensuousness of rural life, as when Annie bestows her love on an apple tree as old and gnarled as she; he allows not a whiff of ironic condescension as he reveals the thwarted wildness of that love. When a man, somewhat Sarah’s junior and ambitious for land, begins courting Sarah, Annie lives in dread that she might lose her home and her cousin’s company. Violence threatens on every page, and the final chapters are breathtaking and driven. (Reviewed August 1, 2002) -- Patricia Monaghan
  • Irish playwright and novelist Barry's gift for image and metaphor (The Whereabouts of Aneas McNulty ) are equaled here by his eye for descriptive detail. This moving story is narrated by the eponymous Annie Dunne, who, in her 60s, has come to live with her cousin Sarah on an impoverished farm in Kelsha, County Wicklow. Plain and poor, and afflicted with a humpback since a childhood attack of polio, Annie is grateful to Sarah for taking her in. She loves the farm and attacks the backbreaking daily chores with fierce ardor. But when a scheming handyman on a neighboring farm begins to court Sarah, Annie sees her livelihood threatened and fights back with the only weapons in her arsenal: bitterness and rage. Complicating the events of the summer spanned by the plot are the two young children left in Annie's care by her nephew, who's gone off to London. As Annie is terrified to admit, even to herself, the children have their own dark secret, too fearsome to contemplate. Veering between dread, anger and shame, Anne's thoughts are also a mixture of whimsical observations, naïve ideas and a poetic appreciation of the natural world. This compassionate portrait of a distraught woman mourning the years of promise and dreams that were "narrowed by the empty hand of possibility" is a masterful feat of characterization, all the more vivid against the backdrop of rural Ireland in the 1950s, undergoing changes that throw Annie's life into sharper focus. (Aug. 26) Forecast: Booksellers should have no trouble handselling this book to discriminating readers who love beautiful prose and a richly textured story. Four-city author tour. --Staff (Reviewed July 1, 2002) (Publishers Weekly, vol 249, issue 26, p53)
  • /* Starred Review */ Second-novelist Sebastian (The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty, 1998) returns with a tone-perfect and powerfully engaging tale of a rural spinster who wonders what life can possibly be for.Never far from Annie Dunne's mind are memories and tales of Ireland during the high old days of respect, stability, wealth, and country estates—back before independence from England. For five generations, Annie's own family had the status of being stewards of the great Humewood estate in County Wicklow—a position that "went from father to son without a break for a hundred years like a proper kingship." But war, independence, and taxes brought all that to an end, though even then Annie's father achieved prominence, becoming "chief superintendent of the Dublin Metropolitan Police, B Division"—until he died destitute and mad. Now it's 1959 and Annie herself, born in 1900, orphaned, deformed by a polio-caused hunchback, unmarried, having spent the prime of her life raising her three motherless nephews, finds the only niche left for her in the world with her spinster relative Sarah Cullen, two years her senior, on her tiny little dirt-poor farm in Wicklow. There, life for the two women is orderly, clean, thrifty—and bone-achingly hard work. When one of Annie's grown nephews leaves his children for the summer, a boy near five and his slightly older sister, Annie's entire life seems cast into question again—especially when it seems Sarah might actually marry the neighborhood's opportunistic Billy Kerr, thus sending Annie away from her last home, to probable penury. Can Annie manage the children, quell her own fears, doubts, and surfacing anger—and also survive the vile taunts that Billy Kerr throws at her secretly for her privileged family past. Over the summer, disaster will threaten and the grace of daily life return as readers will listen, enchanted, to the passionately intelligent inward voice of Annie Dunne.Continuous pleasures, of character and language, in a book about life itself, with never a false note. (Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2002)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
070990
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1955-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Barry, Sebastian
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Older women
  • Farm life
  • Aunts
  • Ireland
Label
Annie Dunne, Sebastian Barry
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
433294
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First American edition.
Extent
228 pages
Isbn
9780670031122
Isbn Type
(hardcover : alk. paper)
Lccn
2002020675
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780670031122
  • (Sirsi) ADH-0635
Label
Annie Dunne, Sebastian Barry
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
433294
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First American edition.
Extent
228 pages
Isbn
9780670031122
Isbn Type
(hardcover : alk. paper)
Lccn
2002020675
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780670031122
  • (Sirsi) ADH-0635

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
      710 W. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, 78701, US
      30.2713021 -97.7460168
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