Straying: Book summary and reviews of Straying by Molly McCloskey

Straying

by Molly McCloskey

Straying by Molly McCloskey X
Straying by Molly McCloskey
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2018
    224 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

This intimate, quietly stunning novel tells the story of a young American expat who settles in Ireland in the late 1980s, marries, and lives through the consequences of an affair.

Alice, a young American, arrives in the West of Ireland with no plans and no strong attachments - except to her beloved mother, who raised her on her own. Alice falls in love with an Irishman, marries him, and settles down in a place whose customs she struggles to understand. In the course of a single hot summer, she embarks on an affair that breaks her marriage and sets her life on a new course.

Years later, after working in war zones around the world, and in the immediate aftermath of her mother's death, Alice finds herself back in Ireland and contemplating the forces that led her to put down roots and then tear them up again. What drew her to her husband, and what pulled her away? Was her husband strangely complicit in the affair? Was she always under surveillance by friends and neighbors who knew more than they let on?

"Molly McCloskey is one of Ireland's finest writers" (Colum McCann) and Straying is at once a gripping account of passion and ambivalence and an exquisite rumination on the things that matter most: the definition of love, the value of family, and the meaning of home.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The melancholic complexity of Alice's very human struggle carries this elegant novel with no easy answers." - Publishers Weekly

"Moving and propulsive ... Perfect for fans of deep-dive character studies in strong, moody settings." - Booklist

"Elegant prose and nuanced self-awareness, reminiscent of early Edna O'Brien, enhance this intensely focused story of memory and self-imposed loss." - Kirkus

"The tale of an idle transgression turns into a profound meditation on love in this ferociously well-written novel ... McCloskey writes with shattering insight on loss, and the way that it can make us feel tender towards the world." - The Guardian (UK)

"Elegiac and wistful in its backward gaze, it's a novel nonetheless light in its touch. Fans of Anne Enright will find much to admire and enjoy." - Daily Mail (UK)

"McCloskey describes everything with a luminous exactitude ... It's entirely beguiling." - Irish Daily Mail

"Luminous." - Irish Times Magazine

"Straying is a powerful and deeply affecting novel in which the psychology of love and the anatomy of adultery are forensically examined. In writing that sparkles with intelligence and insight the ordinary moments of everyday existence are charged with a beauty and tenderness that render them only just bearable." - Mary Costello, author of Academy Street and The China Factory

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Molly McCloskey has served as writer-in-residence at Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin. In 2013, she held the Jenny McKean Moore Fellowship at George Washington University in Washington, DC, and in 2015 served as a judge for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. She is the author of three works of fiction and the memoir Circles Around the Sun: In Search of a Lost Brother. Straying is her first work of fiction to be published in the US. She is a citizen of both Ireland and the US, and she now lives in Washington, DC.

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