An extraordinarily well-written novel about a ninety year-old Irish woman. The narrative traces her ninety years of life while at the same time allowing the reader to know about the life of her psychiatrist, Dr. Grene. The sophisticated mystery of her life is narrated through her writing about her past as she is unable to verbalize it to Dr. Grene. Youth, old age, lost, found, great beauty, great torment, and a late and bittersweet denouement. Part tragedy, part mystery, and ultimately the full history of a beautiful woman who survives. A page turner.
The two distinct voices of the narrators are clearly heard. The writing is absolutely beautiful and you get pulled along in the story. I couldn't wait to pick up the book again each night. I must admit that I did not suspect the ending and was quite pleasantly surprised that I had not figured out the ending well in advance. The descriptions of the Ireland landscape make you feel as though you are right in the midst of things. Two thumbs up.
Beautifully written double diary of two unforgettable characters. That said, the book could easily frustrate one who does not enjoy the elegant use of the language and the free flowing style. Like another reviewer, I was shocked I had not anticipated the ending. Instead I found myself reeling from final revelations. Definitely worth a delightfully slow read -- there's no rushing through this one!
I give every book the first 40 pages to hook me and this one didn't do it. I found this account of a 99 year old woman in an Irish mental hospital to be extremely wordy, jumping from place to place in the story and just plain boring.