Monday, December 21, 2009

Molly Fox's Birthday by Deirdre Madden

Molly Fox is a well-known theatre actress who lends her home in Dublin to a good friend, a playwright. The playwright - we never learn her name - tells the story of her long friendship with Molly.

The novel takes place over the course of one day, without any chapter breaks. Irish author Deirdre Madden skillfully pulls this off with the strength of her narrative. I found myself searching at times for a good place to stop in order to temporarily put down the book, but there aren't even blank lines between paragraphs, which is what Roddy Doyle used to indicate pauses in Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, another chapterless book.

Molly's Fox's Birthday was shortlisted for the Orange Prize this year. It is an introspective and engrossing examination of the complexities of human relationships.

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