BookBrowse has a new look! Learn more about the update here.

Excerpt from My Dream of You by Nuala O'Faolain, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

My Dream of You by Nuala O'Faolain

My Dream of You

by Nuala O'Faolain
  • Critics' Opinion:
  • Readers' Opinion:
  • First Published:
  • Feb 1, 2001
  • Paperback:
  • Feb 2002
  • Rate this book

  • Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

But back in London, I did not say that I was finished with the job. I didn't want to disturb the quiet we had pulled around ourselves. Alex sat in his boss's cubicle, and Roxy sat at her secretary's desk, and Betty the administration lady sat down the corridor in her room. I made as little noise as possible, working in the corner. We were gentle with one another. We tried not to mention Jimmy. One of his gym shoes lay on the floor under his desk. None of us put it away.

De Burca, I said to the psychiatrist's receptionist, when the day of my appointment came around. Kathleen de Burca.

She looked at me as if me not being called Smith or Jones was the very last straw, and put down her pen. Then she picked it up again, wearily.

Could you spell that? she said, as if it were entirely possible that I couldn't.

And what did I do? I said, That's Burke, in English, if that would be easier for you.

Then I complimented her on the New Age flower arrangement on her desk - fawning on her, because I was so afraid. The flesh on my cheeks was actually quivering with fear. By the time I went in to the psychiatrist's office with its antique furniture gleaming in the low light, I was not so much crying as sniveling. I thought everything might unravel then and there and I wouldn't be able to go on. I had let things be. I did my work, and let the rest pile up behind me. I was afraid he would move one little thing in my head, and the whole lot would crash.

There are tissues just beside the chair, he murmured.

I tried to tell him how desolate the nights had been for as long as I could remember. Yes, he murmured. Yes. I told him my best friend was a gay American man and he dropped dead and now I have nobody. Yes. My body slackened with the force of my crying. I howled. I'm getting old! I have made nothing out of my life! Yes, he said. Siblings? he said. A brother at home, and his wife and child, I said. And Nora in New York, the eldest. And my little brother Sean died when he was six and a half and if I'd stayed at home I might have been able to save him! More howling. And there were three or four babies who died around when they were born. Why do you mention them? he said. I don't know, I said. Except - my poor mother! I moaned and hiccuped, but then the storm of crying began to pass. I tried to explain to him: I'm too depressed to even dress properly. I was wearing a jacket the other day that doesn't even fit me! Units of alcohol? he was saying. I luxuriated in the safety of the exquisite room and his hands lying quietly on the desk, reflected in the polished surface. I did not pull myself up and sit properly, though now only the occasional sob shook me. If you could get it down on paper, he was saying, just the general picture, ages of the children at your mother's death, that kind of thing. Next time we meet I'll ask you-

And then I heard it. I wouldn't have, but that I had stopped crying.

Someone made a furtive movement behind a screen in the dim corner behind him.

I sprang upright like a hare in the grass, and searched his face.

It is quite common! he said. Our trainees are allowed to monitor first consultations on exactly the same basis of absolute confidentiality as the primary relationship.

My legs were shaky as I walked to the door.

They do it in your country, too! he called after me. I can assure you!

That's how I know, I said to Nora when I phoned her, that he took the chance because I was Irish.

Nora was silent. She passionately believed in her own shrink. She'd been trying to get me to go into therapy for years. She'd even sent me a blank check once.

Maybe they do it to everybody, she began.

They don't, I said. You know they don't. If that was one of his own kind - if I'd been a university lecturer from Hampstead . . .

Come to me! she said. Come here! Or go home! I don't know how you stuck snobby old England all these years.

Reprinted from My Dream of You by Nuala O'Faolain by permission of Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright (c) 2000 Nuala O'Faolain. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Become a Member

Join BookBrowse today to start
discovering exceptional books!
Find Out More

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Early Sobrieties
    Early Sobrieties
    by Michael Deagler
    Dennis Monk is sober now, and he expects some applause. Or at least some recognition that he's ...
  • Book Jacket: The Coin
    The Coin
    by Yasmin Zaher
    A popular choice for book jackets in recent years, perhaps especially in the historical fiction ...
  • Book Jacket: The Night of Baba Yaga
    The Night of Baba Yaga
    by Akira Otani, Sam Bett
    When Yoriko Shindo gets into a brawl on a busy street in 1970s Tokyo, she has no idea what the ...
  • Book Jacket: The Anthropologists
    The Anthropologists
    by Aysegül Savas
    A documentary filmmaker, Asya is interested in the "unremarkable grace" of daily life, "the slow and...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
The 1619 Project
by Nikole Hannah-Jones
An impactful expansion of groundbreaking journalism, The 1619 Project offers a revealing vision of America's past and present.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Very Long, Very Strange Life of Isaac Dahl
    by Bart Yates

    A saga spanning 12 significant days across nearly 100 years in the life of a single man.


Solve this clue:

L T C O of the B

and be entered to win..

Who Said...

If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.