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The Rose Garden

Short Stories

List Price: $17.95

March 13, 2001 | Paperback | 5.5 x 8.5, 320 Pages | ISBN 9781582431192
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"Reading Maeve Brennan is like watching a master jeweler construct a ticking watch from an array of tiny, inanimate parts—her exquisite skill in piecing together the emotional landscape of her characters is evident in every line." —New York Times Book Review

Maeve Brennan’s collection The Springs of Affection was one of the best reviewed books of 1997. A volume of linked tales of the authors native Dublin, it enlarged the reputation of a too-often overlooked writer, a Flaubertian perfectionist revered by her New Yorker colleagues as one of the finest stylists the magazine ever produced. Now, with The Rose Garden, the remainder of her fiction — much of it previously uncollected — is at last restored to print, and Maeve Brennan stands revealed as one of the century’s great short-story writers. In five of these twenty stories, we return to Brennan’s Dublin, which like Joyce’s is a place of paralyzed souls, unexpressed love, and scaldingly wicked humor. Other stories take us into the cheap hotels and inexpensive restaurants of Times Square and Greenwich Village, and into the mind of Bluebell, an aging city dog — a female black Lab, to be exact — who lives on her memories of the country and the seashore. Together they form a collection that, as the New York Times Book Review said of The Springs of Affection, is “wide-ranging, savage, and poignant, and that brings Brennan back to the table of modern fiction, where her place has been empty for too long.”

MAEVE BRENNAN left Ireland for America in 1934, when she was seventeen. In 1949 she went to work for The New Yorker, to which she contributed book reviews, fashion notes, memoirs, and short stories. Her last published work—a sketch for “The Talk of the Town”—appeared in 1981. After more than a decade of mental illness, she died, in 1993, at the age of seventy-six.

Praise

“Fiction of the highest order, controlled, wise, and fearless. Not many writers go this deep or far from home.” —The Nation

“Flawless… formidable… with characters savagely revealed in moments of vulnerability and compromise.” TIME

“Masterly… A cause for rejoicing…The richness of Brennan’s meticulous fiction is truly a treasure rediscovered.” Newsday

“[D]electably scathing comedies of manners… rapier-sharp tales.” Wall Street Journal

“Reading Maeve Brennan is like watching a master jeweler construct a ticking watch from an array of tiny, inanimate parts—her exquisite skill in piecing together the emotional landscape of her characters is evident in every line.” —New York Times Book Review

“These are sharply funny stories, but, as in “The Bohemians,” with its two Irish fortysomethings in Dublin who “had the glittering, exploring eyes of people who have never learned to control their dreams,” Brennan also makes us aware of the sadness and disappointment in her characters’ lives.” —Booklist

“Remarkable…Brennan is a marvelous, idiosyncratic writer whose work should be far better known than it is.” The New Criterion

“These stories are just a little bit meaner than Cheever’s, wittier than Updike’s and richer than P.G. Wodehouse’s, but Brennan lingers more over her people than any of these upper-class chroniclers. The Hudson River stories are all elbows; the stories set in Ireland are tender, never sentimental, free of the ferocity of New York society.” Los Angeles Times

“[E]xquisite… They are so good that I kept putting the book down to savor a description or perfect phrase, to hug myself with malicious joy, and to put off the evil hour when the stories would be done.” Boston Globe

“There is enormous power in Brennan’s recording of her characters sensations… great beauty and indomitable humanity… She was a magical writer.” Baltimore Sun

“These stories are gems. It is one of the greater injustices that Brennan is not better known in this country… Brennan, as a storyteller, is not one you’ll soon forget. She wields her prose like a surgeon’s scalpel. It is clean, precise and almost unerringly accurate… This is fiction that deserves not just to be read but to be savored.” Philadelphia Enquirer

 

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