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Are You Somebody? : The Accidental Memoir of a Dublin Woman
by Nuala O'Faolain

Overview -

"You don't want the book to end; it glows with compassion and you want more, more because you know this is a fine wine of a life, richer as it ages."--Frank McCourt, author of "Angela's Ashes"

One of nine children born into a penniless North Dublin family, Nuala O'Faolain was saved from a harrowing childhood by her love of books and reading.  Read more...


 
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More About Are You Somebody? by Nuala O'Faolain
 
 
 
Overview

"You don't want the book to end; it glows with compassion and you want more, more because you know this is a fine wine of a life, richer as it ages."--Frank McCourt, author of "Angela's Ashes"

One of nine children born into a penniless North Dublin family, Nuala O'Faolain was saved from a harrowing childhood by her love of books and reading. Though she ultimately became one of Ireland's best-known columnists, her professional success did little to ease her loneliness and longing for a deep connection to the world. "Are You Somebody?" distills her experiences into a wisdom that can only come from an obstinate refusal to shrink from life.

This commemorative edition of her landmark memoir celebrates O'Faolain's remarkable life and work with a new foreword from Frank McCourt as well as additional archival materials. Strikingly vivid and starkly emotional, "Are You Somebody?" is, like O'Faolain herself, a singular example of courage, honesty, and bold living.

Nuala O'Faolain was a waitress, sales clerk, and maid; a university lecturer; a TV producer; and a columnist with "The Irish Times." The author of three consecutive "New York Times" bestsellers, her books include the memoir "Almost There," a follow-up to "Are You Somebody?," as well as two novels: "My Dream of You" and "The Story of Chicago May." She died in Dublin in 2008.

One of nine children born into a penniless North Dublin family, Nuala O'Faolain was saved from a harrowing childhood by her love of books and reading. Though she ultimately became one of Ireland's best-known columnists, her professional success did little to ease her loneliness and longing for a deep connection to the world. "Are You Somebody?" distills her experiences into a wisdom that can only come from an obstinate refusal to shrink from life.
This commemorative edition of her landmark memoir celebrates O'Faolain's remarkable life and work with a new foreword from Frank McCourt, author of "Angela's Ashes," as well as additional archival materials. Strikingly vivid and starkly emotional, "Are You Somebody?" is, like O'Faolain herself, a singular example of courage, honesty, and bold living. "While O'Faolain's] story incorporates many of the familiar features of the 20th-century Irish narrative--booze, religious repression, sexual guilt--it avoids the affectations and subverts the sentimentalities that often afflict a certain sort of self-consciously 'Oirish' literature. Whether writing about the 1950's Ireland of her childhood, where sex outside marriage was a passport to hell and the illegitimate child of the O'Faolains' maid, 'who was never paid, ' was palmed off on the maid's mother to die slowly of neglect . . . or the drink-sodden literary Dublin of the 1960's or the modern European democracy of Ireland in the 80's, O'Faolain brings a spiky, independent intelligence that vanquishes cliche. A good example is the manner in which she addresses her own single, childless status . . . Toward the end of the book, she gives an account of a Christmas that she recently spent on her own. Her description of the day, spent walking in Ballyvaughan with her dog, being bravely 'sensible' about her situation and at the same time abjectly fearful of the solitary future stretching out before her, is one of the most perfectly observed portraits of female loneliness I've ever come across--with more genuine, painful candor in it than all the modish, scandalous confessions of recent years put together . . . this book has to be read."--Zoe Heller, "The New York Times Book Review"
"A beautiful exploration of human loneliness and happiness, of contentment and longing."--Alice McDermott, "The Washington Post"
"There's not a bit of blarney in this] searing, unsentimental book . . . Nor is there so much as a hint of the Ireland of the American imagination in O'Faolain's story of growing up female and psychically starved in modern Ireland. Hers is not an emerald land of enchantment populated by winking leprechauns, orange-haired tale-tellers, and tenors in tears near their beer."--Maureen Dezell, "The Boston Globe"
"Funny, plainspoken, heartfelt . . . Though her memoir is more facinating on subjects other than love, it is to love that O'Faolain returns again and again throughout the book."--Lynn Freed, "Elle" magazine
"A lovely and complex mosaic out of the moments that make up a life as it is being lived."--Bob Minzesheimer, "USA Today"
"O'Faolain understands how the most contented of us can still be overwhelmed unexpectedly by regret for the life not led."--"Time "magazine
"A profoundly textured, truthful memoir, loving and acerbic, vividly told with both] lyrical grace and intellectual stamina . . . An immensely courageous undertaking."--"The Irish Times"
"Likely to become a classic of Irish autobiography."--Colm Toibin, "The Times Literary Supplement" (London)
"I kept marveling at how such pain and grief, sorrow and anger and loss could make such joyful reading."--Terry Doran, "The Buffalo News"
"Searingly honest, exquisitely painful, it also is a fascinating and inspiring account of one woman's triumph opver a daunting heritage."--"The Orlando Sentinel"
"A story of perseverance and pragmatism, of loneliess and its imporfect antidotes."--"The Austin American-Statesman"
"The brutally honest, sometimes heartbreaking account tells the tale of a woman determined to break the mold set by her parents by pushing traditional Irish life to its limits."--Karen Sharp, "The Oakland Press" (Pontiac)
"You don't want the book to end; it glows with compassion and you want more, more because you know this is a fine wine of a life, richer as it ages."--Frank McCourt, author of "Angela's Ashes
""An extraordinary, powerful memoir. It is beautifully written, with an honesty that is both sensitive and stark. Writing about herself, Nuala O'Faolain has also written about Ireland. It is a cruel, wounded place--and this book has become an i

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780805089875
  • ISBN-10: 080508987X
  • Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
  • Publish Date: February 2009
  • Page Count: 227


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Editors, Journalists, Publishers
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Personal Memoirs
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Women

 
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