O’Faolain, Nuala. My Dream of You. Read by Dearbhla Molloy. Hampton, NH: BBC Audiobooks America, 2002.
Reason read: September is supposedly the best month to visit Ireland.
Irish born Kathleen De Burca has arrived at a crossroads in her life. Nearing fifty she loses her best friend and coworker to a heart attack. As a travel writer, Kathleen has lived in London for nearly thirty years and has never married or had children. Jimmy was the closest person she could call family. But, when she is presented with the lifetime achievement award she was supposed to share with her best friend she realizes there is more to life than travel miles and exotic venues. Why not go home to Ireland? Why not research a century old crime that has long fascinated her?
So begins Kathleen’s story. Her past is as complicated as her future is a blank slate. Giving up everything, she lays herself bare to the tragedies of the past; remembrances of long ago transgressions; all the cringe-worthy scars of yesterday. But, as she says on page 408, “Tragedies end.” And so they do. Kathleen learns to pick up the pieces and face the black slate of tomorrow with a different kind of courage than it took in order to come home.
As an aside, I felt the ending gave O’Faolain room for a sequel. Just saying.
Quotes I fell in love with, “I envied her both the Alzheimer’s and the caring husband until I realized that if she had the one she didn’t know she had the other” (p 410), “Happiness keeps you poised, and you do the right thing without effort, whereas you get things wrong when you’re struggling with lack of life” (p 438), and “Either take account of other people from now on, or go back to the bad old days” (p 484). On a personal note, I took a lot from Kathleen’s words. I, too, am a woman who has repeatedly shunned the thrum of humanity, preferring my own seclusions. I, too, need to embrace and take stock of others around me.
Author fact: O’Faolain also wrote a best selling memoir about her life as an Irish woman.
Book trivia: My Dream of You is O’Faolain’s first novel.
Narrator fact: Dearbhla Molloy won an Audio Award for the abridged narration of My Dream of You.
Nancy said: My Dream of You is “a good novel set in Ireland” (p 126). She also said it is a first novel she was “delighted to have read” (p 89).
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust twice. First, in the chapter called “First Novels” (p 88) and again in “Irish Fiction” (p 125). Also, in Book Lust To Go in the chapter appropriately called “Ireland: Beyond Joyce, Behan, Beckett and Synge” (p 111).