Ghost Light (Hardcover, Large Print)

By Joseph O'Connor

Thorndike Press, 9781410437587, 403pp.

Publication Date: June 1, 2011

February 2011 Indie Next List

“Occasionally, a novel will come along that breaks the bounds between fact and fiction, romance and reality, to create a story so insightful and true that the scenes come to life before your eyes. Ghost Light is the fictionalized account of the famed Irish playwright J.M. Synge and his lover, the actress Maire O'Neill. Alternating with the Dublin tableaux is the tale of Maire's later life as a poverty-stricken alcoholic in 1952 London, where she haunted by the memories of both her days with Synge and her acting career, and struggling to make her way, day by day. Bravo!”
— Carl Hoffman, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI
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In 1907 Edwardian Dublin is a city of whispers and rumors. At the Abbey Theatre W. B. Yeats is working with talented John Synge, his resident playwright. It is here that the author of Playboy of the Western World and Juno and the Paycock will meet an actress still in her teens named Molly Allgood. Rebellious, irreverent, beautiful, flirtatious, Molly is a girl of the inner-city tenements, dreaming of stardom in America. Witty and watchful, she has dozens of admirers, but it is the damaged older playwright who is her secret passion despite the barriers of age, class, education, and religion.

In 1950s postwar London, an old woman walks across the city in the wake of a hurricane. As she wanders past bomb sites and through the forlorn beauty of wrecked terraces and wintry parks, her mind drifts in and out of the present while she remembers her life's great love, her once-dazzling career, and her travels in America. Vivid and beautifully written, Molly's swirling, fractured narrative moves from Dublin to London via New York in language of luminous beauty and raw feeling that celebrates love and art. Ghost Light is a story of great sadness and joy--a tour de force from the widely acclaimed and bestselling author of Star of the Sea.