Search This Blog

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Time Present, and Time Past by Dierdre Madden

Dierdre Madden is an Irish author whose latest book was once again long listed for the Orange Prize.  It is more of a novella in length, but it is so densely and beautifully written that you forget just how short it is.  The book follows a family over time, headed by the father, Finlan.  He is a guy who has what I would call permeable ego boundaries and what is perhaps a below average ability to tell one person from another.  He sees connections everywhere he looks, and through his eyes, we see lots of them as well.  The central issues are the ties that family hold now and for all time.  Jane is Finlan's mother and for the most part, her family should either have avoided her like the plague or demanded she change for their own mental health, but her influence on her grandchildren is more positive, so there are pluses and minuses to maintaining connections with very negative family members.  He sees his twin in a divorced father who is painfully separated from his child after a divorce that was clearly in everyone's best interest but the wife is still quite bitter. The desperate love that one can feel for their child can have the effect of making that child feel safe, but it has negative consequences for Finlan's own daughter--he loved her more than anyone else could and it left her unhappy.  So it is not what you would call an inherently uplifting book, but it does show the light and the dark side of human relationships.  Loved it.

No comments:

Post a Comment