Hailed by critics ("A beautiful exploration of human loneliness and happiness, of contentment and longing," wrote Alice McDermott in The Washington Post) and embraced by legions of readers, Nuala O'Faolain's memoir Are You Somebody? introduced a writer of exceptional insight, honesty, and compassion. These same gifts are evident in O'Faolain's grand first novel that tells of parallel lives, one hundred fifty years apart, driven by a hunger for passionate love.
My Dream of You is the story of Kathleen de Burca, an Irish woman based in London, a travel writer who crisscrosses the globe. She is a woman on the run until a quick series of blows, on the eve of a milestone birthday, stops her cold -- revealing the painful cost of her refugee existence and the encroaching despair that the love she believed would deliver her might never come. And still, she feels, her heart is ridiculously alive.
And so it is to passion that Kathleen turns when she sets out for Ireland to investigate the true story of a scandalous affair between the wife of an English landlord and an Irish servant during the latter years of the Famine. Between the lines of the historical record and through a reconsideration of the family she fled so long ago, Kathleen attempts to understand how it is that even in the face of adversity love can prevail and even with love families can be torn apart. During her time in the country, she encounters a lover of her own who helps her to know her own heart and presents her with an ultimate choice that, like the one made by her nineteenth-century lovers, promises to alter the course of her life.
My Dream of You is a singular achievement: a feeling and captivating work that explores the extremes of passion, the depths of loneliness, and the resilience of the human heart.
By the time I was middle-aged I was well defended against crisis, if it came from outside. I had kept my life even and dry for a long time. I'd been the tenant of a dim basement, half-buried at the back of the Euston Road, for more than twenty years. I didn't like London particularly, except for the TravelWrite office, but I didn't see much of it. Jimmy and I, who were the main writers for the travel section of the NewsWrite syndicate, were on the move all the time. We were never what you'd call explorers; we never went anywhere near war or hunger or even discomfort. And we wrote about every place we went to in a cheerful way: that was the house rule. But we had a good boss. Even if it was the fifth "Paris in Springtime" or the third "Sri Lanka: Isle of Spices," Alex wouldn't let us get away with tired writing. Sometimes Jimmy accused him of foolish perfectionism, because every TravelWrite piece was bought immediately anyway. But having to please Alex was good for us. And ...
If you liked My Dream of You, try these:
A stunning, thought-provoking crime novel of chilling moral complexity. A gripping, haunting exploration of love and our need for it, of the damage done when we go long without it, and the deeds we might be driven to in its name.
From a land famous for storytelling comes an epic novel that captures the intimate, passionate texture of the Irish spirit.
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