An evening with author Mary O’Donnell
An enjoyable evening was shared by the Staff and the Parents’ Book Club last Wednesday (25th October) in the company of local poet, author and Aosdána member Mary O’Donnell. Mary’s novel The Light Makers was recently republished by 451 Editions, 25 years after it was first published by Poolbeg Press.
Despite its age, the novel is fresh with a beauty of language and a subject matter that lies at the very soul of so many, the desire for a child. A character driven novel, its central theme of identity emerges as the protagonist, Hanna Troy, a thirty-five year old married woman examines her need and desire for a child. She reflects on her past, her marriage and society. In so doing, the reader is exposed to the worry, anger, loneliness, angst and frustration felt by this middle-aged woman who struggles to conceive.
Mary spoke about the origins of the book, how she floundered initially with its structure but was then inspired by Margaret Atwood’s novel Surfacing to write primarily in the continuous present. It proved to be most effective in delivering an emotional power to the writing. This was demonstrated through Mary’s reading of a short extract from the novel, her voice highlighting the beauty of its language and its evocative power, transporting us for a brief time to a holiday in Cairo with Hannah Troy and her husband as they scramble to save their marriage.
An author’s perspective on their own work adds greatly to the reader’s own experience of the work. Both Staff and Parents’ Book Clubs were privileged and enriched to have spent an evening discussing The Light Makers and the writing process of Mary O’Donnell.
Ms Jane O’Loughlin, College Librarian
Any parent interested in joining the Parents’ Book Club should contact Parents Book Club firstname.lastname@example.org for details. New members are always welcome.