Summary and book reviews of The Love Object by Edna O'Brien

The Love Object

Selected Stories

by Edna O'Brien

The Love Object by Edna O'Brien X
The Love Object by Edna O'Brien
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    May 2015, 544 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2017, 544 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Jennifer G Wilder
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Collected here for the first time are stories spanning five decades of writing by the "short story master." (Harold Bloom)

As John Banville writes in his introduction to The Love Object, Edna O'Brien "is, simply, one of the finest writers of our time." The thirty-one stories collected in this volume provide, among other things, a cumulative portrait of Ireland, seen from within and without.

Coming of age, the impact of class, and familial and romantic love are the prevalent motifs, along with the instinct toward escape and subsequent nostalgia for home. Some of the stories are linked and some carry O'Brien's distinct sense of the comical. In "A Rose in the Heart of New York," the single-mindedness of love dramatically derails the relationship between a girl and her mother, while in "Sister Imelda" and "The Creature" the strong ties between teacher and student and mother and son are ultimately broken. "The Love Object" recounts a passionate affair between the narrator and her older lover.

The magnificent, mid-career title story from Lantern Slides portrays a Dublin dinner party that takes on the lives and loves of all the guests. More recent stories include "Shovel Kings" - "a masterpiece of compression, distilling the pain of a lost, exiled generation" (Sunday Times) - and "Old Wounds," which follows the revival and demise of the friendship between two elderly cousins.

In 2011, Edna O'Brien's gifts were acknowledged with the most prestigious international award for the story, the Frank O'Connor Short Story Award. The Love Object illustrates a career's worth of shimmering, potent prose from a writer of great courage, vision, and heart.

Storm

The sun gave to the bare fields the luster of ripened hay. That is why people go, for the sun and the scenery— ranges of mountains, their peaks sparkling, an almost cloudless sky, the sea a variety of shades of blue, ceaselessly flickering like a tray of jewels. Yet Eileen wants to go home; to be more precise, she wishes that she had never come. Her son Mark, and his girlfriend, Penny, have become strangers to her and, though they talk and go to the beach and go to dinner, there is between them a tautness. She sees her age and her separateness much more painfully here than when at home, and she is lost without the props of work and friends. She sees faults in Penny that she had not noticed before. She is irked that a girl of twenty can be so self- assured, irked at the languid painstaking way that Penny applies her suntan oil, making sure that it covers each inch of her body, then rolling onto her stomach imploring Mark to cover her back completely. At other times Penny ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • 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 $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Edna O'Brien's The Love Object is more than a short-story collection, it's an encyclopedia of perfect storytelling and a retrospective on the fifty-year career of a writer of exquisite finesse and pathos. O'Brien has taken a great deal of time over these small works of art. They are finely wrought pieces with vivid details, sparingly rendered. The sentences are buffed to a polish, the symbolic images (a green georgette evening gown, a mossy cave, an undercooked fowl) so finely worked, their seams are invisible...continued

Full Review (774 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Jennifer G Wilder).

Media Reviews

Times Literary Supplement (UK)
When a writer as gifted as O'Brien memorializes a vanishing world, we experience not only the 'lost landscape' but the richly ambivalent emotions it has evoked.

The Observer (UK)
Every one of the stories included is a shining example of a master at work.

Publishers Weekly
John Banville’s introduction to the collection highlights O’Brien’s technique as well as her Irish roots. The stories validate his admiration—O’Brien’s self-described gallery of “strange” and “sacrificial” Irish women is indispensable.

Booklist
Starred Review. What we see now is what was always there, brilliant prose couched in extremely creative and greatly relevant story lines presenting well-understood and broadly understandable characters.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. This collection positions O'Brien among the literary heavyweights, where it confirms she belongs.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • 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 $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

The Literary Life of Edna O'Brien

Edna O'Brien Edna O'Brien was born in 1930 in western Ireland, where her parents lived in a picturesque stone house called Drewsboro, built on the remains of a fancy country house her father had helped burn down so the British couldn't use it during the Irish War of Independence after World War I. Her father's family was wealthy, her mother's, poor. They raised racehorses and other livestock. O'Brien grew up exploring the wild country landscape, full of bogs and forests, and observing the unhappiness of her parents. Her father drank and got into debt, and her mother kept the farm going and suffered. Meanwhile, the local Catholic culture was suspicious of literature but flush with storytelling and the old poetry and folklore of the Irish past. ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • 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 $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Edna O'Brien

If you liked The Love Object, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • 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 $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: Becoming
    Becoming
    by Michelle Obama
    Voted 2019 Best Nonfiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    BookBrowse hosted a Book Club ...
  • Book Jacket: Butterfly Yellow
    Butterfly Yellow
    by Thanhha Lai, Daniel Suarez
    Voted 2019 Best Young Adult Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    As readers, many of us hope ...
  • Book Jacket: Olive, Again
    Olive, Again
    by Elizabeth Strout
    Voted 2019 Best Fiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    It's been a big year for literary ...
  • Book Jacket: Solitary
    Solitary
    by Albert Woodfox
    Voted 2019 Best Debut Author Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    According to statistics from ...

Book Club
Book Jacket
Evening in Paradise
by Lucia Berlin

"Berlin's new book is a marvel, filled with deeply touching stories about lives on the fringes."—NPR

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The In-Betweens
    by Mira Ptacin

    "A fascinating history of an American community of Spiritualists... a fabulous read."
    —Elizabeth Gilbert
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Butterfly Yellow

BUTTERFLY YELLOW

Winner of the BookBrowse Award for Best Young Adult Novel, and the overall highest rated book of the year!

Enter

Wordplay

The Big Holiday Wordplay

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

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.