Ghost Light: A Novel (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Macmillan, Feb 1, 2011 - Fiction - 256 pages
23 Reviews

1907 Edwardian Dublin, a city of whispers and rumors. At the Abbey Theatre W. B. Yeats is working with the talented John Synge, his resident playwright. It is here that Synge, the author of The Playboy of the Western World and The Tinker’s Wedding, 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.

Synge is a troubled, reticent genius, the son of a once prosperous landowning family, a poet of fiery language and tempestuous passions. Yet his life is hampered by conventions and by the austere and God-fearing mother with whom he lives. Scarred by a childhood of immense loneliness and severity, he has long been ill, but he loves to walk the wild places of Ireland. The affair, sternly opposed by friends and family, is turbulent, sometimes cruel, and often tender.

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 as 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 with luminous language and raw feeling. 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.


  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - janerawoof - LibraryThing

Beautiful evocation of Edwardian Dublin and the love affair between playwright J.M. Synge and Abbey Theatre actress Maire O'Neill. The author uses complicated tense changes [present for Synge's or ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mhanlon - LibraryThing

I picked this one up because it's Joseph O'Connor, and he can do no wrong, nearly. I wouldn't list this as one of his best books. It never hits the highs of "Inishowen" or "Star of the Sea" or ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

1 A LODGINGHOUSE ROOM IN LONDON 27 October 1952
3
2 BRICKFIELDS TERRACE
25
3 KINGSTOWN A PROSPEROUS SUBURB OF DUBLIN 1908
43
4 RETURNING TO MISS ONEILL IN LONDON ON THE DAY WE FIRST MET HER
61
5 A REHEARSAL AT THE ABBEY THEATRE DUBLIN
79
6 A LETTER TO THE TIMES
97
7 INTERMISSION AT GLENCREE
99
8 THE THEATRE DISTRICT LONDON
131
10 APPROACHING BLOOMSBURY
159
11 ST MATTHEWS CHURCH RUSSELL SQUARE
181
12 BROADCASTING HOUSE
195
13 PARK PRUETT MENTAL HOSPITAL HAMPSHIRE ENGLAND November 1952
211
14 BROMPTON CEMETERY LONDON ENGLAND
229
Epilogue OLD LETTER FOUND AMONG HER PAPERS UNMAILED
231
Acknowledgements and Caveat
243
Copyright

9 SCENE FROM A HALFIMAGINED STAGE PLAY
149

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About the author (2011)

Joseph O’Connor was born in Dublin. His books include six previous novels: Cowboys and Indians (short-listed for the Whitbread Prize), Desperadoes, The Salesman, Inishowen, Star of the Sea, and Redemption Falls. Star of the Sea became an international bestseller, winning the Irish Post Award for Literature, and France’s Prix Millepages, Italy’s Premio Acerbi, and the Prix Madeleine Zepter for European Novel of the Year. His work has been published in thirty-five languages. http://josephoconnorauthor.com/

Bibliographic information