Molly Fox's Birthday
By Deirdre Madden
(Picador, Paperback, 9780312429546, 240pp.)
Publication Date: April 27, 2010
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A Finalist for the Orange Prize
It is the height of summer, and celebrated actor Molly Fox has loaned her house in Dublin to a friend while she is away performing in New York. Alone among all of Molly's possessions, struggling to finish her latest play, she looks back on the many years and many phases of her friendship with Molly and their college friend Andrew, and comes to wonder whether they really knew each other at all. She revisits the intense closeness of their early days, the transformations they each made in the name of success and security, the lies they told each other, and betrayals they never acknowledged. Set over a single midsummer's day, Molly Fox's Birthday is a mischievous, insightful novel about a turning point--a moment when past and future suddenly appear in a new light.
Deirdre Madden teaches at Trinity College Dublin and is a member of the Irish arts academy Aosdána.
- How do the narrator’s feelings about Molly change over the course of the novel? Do you think the she sees Molly clearly at the end?
“Deirdre Madden's prose is crystalline, understated, apparently effortless yet artfully suitable. She really does not remind me of anybody I've read before. And yet, like other formidable writers—Mavis Gallant, Margaret Atwood and Elizabeth Bowen come to mind—she is after something intrinsic and riddling but essential in us all, something that probably doesn't exist until we've read every word this book contains. It is ambitious work. Madden is a first-rate novelist.”—Richard Ford
“A novel of great subtlety, beauty and strength. Madden is one of our finest writers.”—Anne Enright
“It is almost impossible not to be moved.”—The Scotsman
“Equipped with an almost celestial compassion. Madden is the constant genius of Irish Letters.”—Sebastian Barry
“Written with skill, sympathy, and flair, establishes Madden further as one of the most important Irish novelists.”—Colm Toibin, Best Books of the Year, Sunday Business Post (Ireland)
“Resembles a box in which keepsakes have been carefully packed away: over the course of a day, the significant memories of three lives are taken out and examined, giving rise to a satisfying tension between the deceptive simplicity of the setup and the subtle impacts of each successive 'reveal'. . . .[an] elegant novel of contained power.”—The Guardian (UK)
“This is a novel about identity and it poses meaningful questions about the presentation of self and perhaps, the necessity of falsehood. . . . Zestful and lyrical writing.”—Penny Perrick, The Times (London)