Book report: Annie Dunne

Beckett disliked the way he wrote in English, because the Irish way with words always seemed a bit too twee for him. In French, he could find a voice divorced from all that. I get why he felt this. Especially in a time when Yeats ruled the roost of the Irish literary scene. And I love Beckett for his spartan qualities, he doesn't give into lyricism.

But, when it's done right, all that lace in words can be a beautiful thing. Good Yeats is a prime example (this poem stands out). And I sometimes think Sebastian Barry epitomizes the very thing Beckett was trying to shed. But, Barry's writing is like glass too. It's at once all lace and luminous, unsentimental. And, especially when you're writing women, that's a beautiful balance to strike.

The prose in Annie Dunne is much denser than The Secret Scripture or A Long Long Way (I loved both books). There are passages that are pure poetry and I took to reading them out loud to feel their rhythm and force. That Barry is a playwright is immediately apparent when reading this book.

The story of this book is secondary to the inner life of Annie and her telling of her days. I do love stories where nothing much happens (uhm, Godot) Or, at least, where the arc of the story is not perfectly resolved. But, the humanity of Annie is more than enough. She propels you forward with shifting moods and a churning inner life, all while getting on with the more ordinary business of living.
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