The Hidden Thing You Seek
Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 4:50PM
Vicki Wilt in Contemporary Fiction, Ghost Light, Ireland, J. M. Synge, Joseph O'Connor, Literary Fiction

Ghost Light by Joseph O'Connor

A day in the life of an old, down-on-her-luck Irish actress, who remembers her love affair with playwright J. M. Synge. Beautiful prose that reads like poetry. Heavy going at times, but hauntingly memorable. One of those novels that seems to have been revealed, rather than written.

An excerpt:

A stretch into the sideboard’s deepest recess and you find the hidden thing you seek. A child’s Sunday School bible, the ribbon frayed and tangled, the threads of its binding unravelled. Folded into Ecclesiastes is the only letter you saved. The first time he had ever written your name. Wrong to have secretly kept it when his family had wanted everything, but on the morning when they came to take away all the proof of your existence you had been unable to surrender the last you had of him. Here it is now, the only thing you have ever stolen. You open the withered notepaper, its creases greyed by age, its inkblots like a mapped archipelago. It has not seen daylight in seventeen years. There were nights you hoped the mice would devour it. (pages 21-22)

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