Saints and Sinners Synopsis
The BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of Edna O'Brien's The Country Girls trilogy begins in August 2019. 'Edna O'Brien writes the most beautiful, aching stories of any writer, anywhere.' Alice Munro A woman walks the streets of Manhattan and contemplates with exquisite longing the precarious affair she has embarked on, amidst the grandeur and cacophony of the cityscape; a young Irish girl and her mother are thrilled to be invited to visit the glamorous Coughlan's but find - for all the promise of their green gorgette, silver shoes and fancy dinner parties - they leave disappointed; an Irishman in north London retraces his life as a young lad with his mates digging the streets and dreaming of the apocryphal gold, an outsider both in Ireland and England, yet he carries the lodestar of his native land. This classic collection glows with Edna O'Brien's trademark lyricism, powerful evocations of place, and heart-breaking insight into the desires and contradictions of humanity. Edna O'Brien's stunning new novel Girl will be published by Faber in September 2019, available to pre-order now.
Saints and Sinners Press Reviews
O'Brien mixes her trademark lyricism with a brutal depiction of lives marred by violence...Throughout, tragedy mingles with beauty, yearning with survival, and destruction with moments of grace. -- Publishers Weekly Ever since the publication of The Country Girls, in 1960, O'Brien's work has been recognized as something new, turning themes of sexual repression into joyful experiment and the age-old sadness of exile into an opportunity to explore a brave new world....Subversion is what catapulted Edna O'Brien to literary stardom an incredible half century ago and, at the top of her game, she can still cut the ground from under your feet. --Aisling Foster, The Times (London) The world, if viewed in clich d terms, is indeed populated by the two types of individuals cited in the title of this new collection of short stories by the doyenne of contemporary Irish literature, an acknowledged master of the form. But that is all that is clich d about this splendid book....Eleven stories in total bring literary lovers' rapt attention to this author's clear, immaculate style and her brilliant selection of detail, nimble plot construction, and astute character delineation. Recommend O'Brien along with William Trevor and Alice Munro. --Brad Hooper, Booklist Fifty years after leaving County Clare for London, the doyenne of Irish fiction, Edna O'Brien, is still preoccupied with the land of her birth....[ Saints and Sinners ] is a shimmering book--lyric, but highly controlled. --Rachel Cooke, The Observer (London) Ever since the publication of The Country Girls , in 1960, O'Brien's work has been recognized as something new, turning themes of sexual repression into joyful experiment and the age-old sadness of exile into an opportunity to explore a brave new world....Subversion is what catapulted Edna O'Brien to literary stardom an incredible half century ago and, at the top of her game, she can still cut the ground from under your feet. --Aisling Foster, The Times (London) Half a century after her incendiary debut novel...Edna O'Brien still holds her place as a revealer of the nation's soul. She shows its 'maimed, stark and misshapen, but ferociously tenacious' character, in this latest elegant, uncluttered collection, to have a remarkable, tragic forbearance for suffering...In a lovely flourish, O'Brien scatters her stories with small, beautifully-tended and thrillingly described gardens, as lush as they are sweet-smelling. Some sit on the fringes of the story, others offer respite for characters who stumble across them in passing, but they emerge time and again like little plots of makeshift Edens for the fallen. --Arifa Akbar, Independent (London) One great virtue of Edna O'Brien's writing is the sensation it gives of a world made new by language. . . . A lyric language which is all the more trustworthy because it issues from a sensibility that has known the costs as well as the rewards of being alive. -- Seamus Heaney , from Citation, Lifetime Achievement Award O'Brien's new collection of stories, Saints and Sinners, features plenty of sex, plenty of people who are all very much alive, living bravely in the face of death. Her protagonists are wonderfully flawed and vulnerable....complexity and ambivalence gives her work great depth and charge...So who are the eponymous saints? Who are the new Adam and Eve? O'Brien's compassionate, mesmerizing tales exhilaratingly refuse to spell that out. --Michele Roberts, Financial Times PRAISE FOR SAINTS AND SINNERS: Edna O'Brien writes the most beautiful, aching stories of any writer, anywhere. -- Alice Munro