Friday, March 21, 2008

Irish Memories

Last week I saw a new play called Tir na nÓg("Land of Youth") by Irish writer Edna O’Brien at Magic Theater. As I watched I kept feeling that I already knew the characters and story seemed very familiar to me. It turns out that the play was adapted from the novel The Country Girls which O'Brien wrote in 1960. At least 20 (could even be 30!) years ago I read this novel – at that point it was part of a trilogy which also included The Lonely Girl (1962), and Girls in Their Married Bliss (1964). My book has long since gone to Green Apple, so I can't refresh my fading memory, but I do remember fondly the two main characters, Kate and Baba, whose lives span the three books. The trilogy covers their childhoods and convent education in western Ireland, their move to Dublin, their fantasies, their romances and their marriages. The book is funny and lyrical and poignant – very Irish. I remember feeling sad that the spirited, talented country girls of the first book ended up in such disappointing marriages in the last book. Would I feel differently if I read it today? But the characters never feel sorry for themselves. And the fact that I remember them twenty years later is a tribute to O'Brien's talents as a storyteller. To read an interview with O' Brien about her new play visit:

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