I AM MARY DUNNE by Brian Moore


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Once again one of the lacerating lifestyles (failed men--frustrated women) which have figured in almost all of Brian Moore's novels, his last excepted. Actually this is closest to An Answer from Limbo, perhaps because its modern New York setting lends itself to a certain facility (sleek, just this side of slick), leaving behind the untamed austerity of Ireland and the platitudinous provincialism of Canada. Wherever, ineffectuality, impotence, failure, prodded by the devil in the flesh, are the welts he raises under the hairshirt of everyday existence. This Spends twenty four hours, or less, in the youngish (thirty) life of Mary Dunne from the morning at the hairdresser's when she doesn't remember her name. She's had so many first and last names (Mary, Maria, Martha) courtesy of those who loved her and three marriages. She's also haunted by her ""Down Tilts"" and her ""Mad Twin"" and ""the dooms, the glooms in which I see myself in unknown hotel rooms with nameless men""--her father died in one with some woman-and she has an undefined if undeluded sense of guilt toward Hat, her second husband. On it goes as Mary, given to jagged self-recognitions, feinting with who she is, is finally forced to confront what she's done, deliberately and by default. . . . Lacking the literary caliber of his first (The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne) and last (The Emperor of Ice Cream) perhaps best books, still this will commit your unconditional sympathetic interest and it does so with superlative ease.

Pub Date: June 19th, 1968
Publisher: Viking