Almost There: The Onward Journey of a Dublin Woman

Overview

In 1996, a small Irish press approached Nuala O'Faolain, then a writer for The Irish Times, to publish a collection of her opinion columns. She offered to compose an introduction for the volume, and that undertaking blossomed into an "accidental memoir of a Dublin woman" and a book called Are You Somebody? that was published around the world and embraced so wholeheartedly in the U.S. that it reached the number-one position on the New York Times bestseller list and launched Nuala...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (185) from $1.99   
  • New (21) from $1.99   
  • Used (164) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 3
Showing 1 – 10 of 21 (3 pages)
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$1.99
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(3)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
2003 Hard cover New in very good dust jacket. Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 275 p. Audience: General/trade.

Ships from: Salisbury, MD

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(71)

Condition: New
1573222410 Only 1 copy left! Clean, unmarked copy. Hardcover, with dust jacket. Will be sent via media rate, unless other rate is selected.

Ships from: Los Angeles, CA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2007

Feedback rating:

(189)

Condition: New
1573222410 New. No marks or damage. Hardcover, 275 pages, Riverhead Hardcover; First Printing edition (February 24, 2003). 100% satisfaction guaranteed. Great customer service ... and a no problem, EZ return policy. Real people, real service, since 1981. A memoir may be a summing-up of a long, interesting life, or it can be a sort of self-examination so addictive the writer joins the ranks of the "serial memoirists." O'Faolain's a repeat offender, effectively rechewing material incompletely digested in her previous memoir, Are You Somebody? She opens by listing what she doesn't have, as she enters her mid-50s-someone to love, someone to love her, money, a workplace, a pension-but it's clear love is her biggest problem: "How have I ended up with nobody?" Read more Show Less

Ships from: Spring Valley, CA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$2.99
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(71)

Condition: New
1573222410 Only 1 copy left! Clean, unmarked copy. Hardcover, with dust jacket- In great shape! I can send expedited rate if you chose; otherwise it will promptly be sent via ... media rate. Have any questions? Email me; I'm happy to help! Read more Show Less

Ships from: Los Angeles, CA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$4.35
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(146)

Condition: New
2003-02-24 Hardcover New in Like New jacket Mint condition hardcover book in also brand new condition dustjacket. MendoPower Employment Services will immediately and carefully ... pack this book in high-quality bubble lined, envelopes. Then we send you a confirmation e-mail. We appreciate your business and welcome any questions. Read more Show Less

Ships from: Fort Bragg, CA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$4.98
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(197)

Condition: New
2003-02-24 Hardcover New Ships fast from NY.

Ships from: Niagara Falls, NY

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$6.00
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(18)

Condition: New
2003 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Now in Brodart cover, clean, tight, and bright. Giftable. Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 275 p. Audience: ... General/trade. Read more Show Less

Ships from: Scottsboro, AL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$8.00
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:

(71)

Condition: New
New York 2003 Hardcover 1st Brand new. Dust Jacket Included Book ISBN: 1-57322-241-0. R. Jaramillo dj. brand new, fine dj, blue cloth & bds. Clean, tight, giftable! 275 pgs.

Ships from: Binghamton, NY

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$8.00
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:

(71)

Condition: New
New York 2003 Hardcover 1st Brand new. Dust Jacket Included Book ISBN: 1-57322-241-0. Sequel to the late author's Are You Somebody? R. Jaramillo dj. brand new, fine dj, blue ... cloth & bds. Clean, tight, giftworthy! 275 pgs. Read more Show Less

Ships from: Binghamton, NY

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$8.00
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(163)

Condition: New
2003-02-24 Hardcover New The item is from a closeout sale from bookstore. A great book in new condition! Inquires welcomed and we want your complete satisfaction! Eligible for ... FREE Super Saving Shipping! Fast Amazon shipping plus a hassle free return policy mean your satisfaction is guaranteed! Tracking number provided in your Amazon account with every order. Item is Brand New! Read more Show Less

Ships from: Savannah, GA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 3
Showing 1 – 10 of 21 (3 pages)
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview

In 1996, a small Irish press approached Nuala O'Faolain, then a writer for The Irish Times, to publish a collection of her opinion columns. She offered to compose an introduction for the volume, and that undertaking blossomed into an "accidental memoir of a Dublin woman" and a book called Are You Somebody? that was published around the world and embraced so wholeheartedly in the U.S. that it reached the number-one position on the New York Times bestseller list and launched Nuala O'Faolain on a new career.

Hailed universally for her unflinching eye ("A beautiful exploration of human loneliness and happiness, of contentment and longing."-Alice McDermott, The Washington Post Book World); her wisdom ("A remarkable memoir, poignant, truthful, and imparting that quiet wisdom which suffering brings."-Edna O'Brien); and her boldness ("An immensely courageous undertaking."-The Irish Times), Are You Somebody? took readers from O'Faolain's harrowing childhood, through decades defined by passion and a ferocious hunger for experience, to a middle age notable for its unbroken solitude and longing. The success of the book's publication robbed O'Faolain of her obscurity, but the traits that defined her life remained obstinately intact.

In Almost There, O'Faolain begins her story from the moment her life began to change in all manner of ways-subtle, radical, predictable, and unforeseen. It is a provocative meditation on the "crucible of middle age"-a time of life that forges the shape of the years to come, that clarifies and solidifies one's relationships to friends and lovers (past and present), family and self. It is also a story of good fortune chasing out bad-of an accidental harvest of happiness.

Almost There, like its predecessor, is a crystalline reflection of a singular character, utterly engaged in life. Intelligent, thoughtful, hilarious, fierce, moving, generous, and most of all, full of surprises.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Nuala O'Faolain's Almost There picks up where her previous bestselling memoir, Are You Somebody?, left off. Here, with the same fierce and singular voice, she describes entering her 50s with time closing in on her. On the surface, her situation has changed dramatically, because Are You Somebody? -- O'Faolain's ruminations on her impoverished childhood, her Oxford education, her budding career among Dublin's bohemian intelligentsia, and her status as a middle-aged, never-been-married woman -- became a publishing sensation in the late 1990s. Though she had experienced notoriety before, O'Faolain now had the closest thing to stardom an author could hope for: TV appearances, recognition by strangers on the street, royalty money that enabled her to travel as far away as she could ever wish, for as long as she desired. At the same time, as Almost There reveals, she had to deal with the consequences particular to her own fame: the seven siblings whose feelings must be considered when they are the subjects of her pen; the realization that the solitude necessary to the writer might not be so good for the woman approaching 60; the seductive freedom to write whatever she wants, as often as she would like, for whomever she chooses to address. (For O'Faolain, this last bit was sweetened by an invitation to the prestigious Yaddo artists' retreat, where she composed much of this current volume.) Newcomers to O'Faolain may find themselves wishing for the added background provided by the earlier memoir (there are allusions to Are You Somebody? and her novel My Dream of You throughout), while established fans will simply devour these further chapters infused with O'Faolain's clear, sure perceptions and distinctive point of view. Katherine Hottinger
USA Today
In these pages, we see O'Faolain making her own attempt to live. She opens to friendships as never before; finds new joy in art, music, and nature; and pulls together a first-ever holiday gathering with her aging siblings. She signs on with an Internet dating service and, finding herself totally ignored, asks a Brooklyn lawyer what it was about her personal profile that he found off-putting. After the lawyer tells her, she insists on meeting him, and they become lovers.

But even amid her second chance in late middle age, O'Faolain struggles. She wrestles with her first memoir (she took a writing class to get started), and then her novel, My Dream of You. She remains uncertain in relationships with men. She sees a therapist. And we realize, as she does, that she remains a shy, inward solitary woman, like her mother. She will always have an "unfinished understanding" of herself — the very thing that wins her so many readers.

Almost There is another letter from a wise friend on what it's like to stay engaged in life as we "inch across the minefield to old age." — Joseph Barbato

Beth Kephart
In the final paragraph of her wildly popular memoir, 1998's Are You Somebody?, Nuala O'Faolain—a middle-aged woman who has been banged around by life, a grown-up daughter still wrestling the ghosts of an Irish childhood, an admired author who has yet to settle down with lasting love—admits that she has little choice but to move forward, to live on. "What can I do but take my chances?
the things we have such a hard time confessing. "I think you can be born homesick, " O'Faolain writes. "I think you can have a dislocated heart. No place will do. The most wonderful home in the world full of the most love wouldn't be enough for you—you'd keep looking around for where you belong.
Publishers Weekly
A memoir may be a summing-up of a long, interesting life, or it can be a sort of self-examination so addictive the writer joins the ranks of the "serial memoirists." O'Faolain's a repeat offender, effectively rechewing material incompletely digested in her previous memoir, Are You Somebody? She opens by listing what she doesn't have, as she enters her mid-50s-someone to love, someone to love her, money, a workplace, a pension-but it's clear love is her biggest problem: "How have I ended up with nobody?" Her early boyfriends were apparently unremarkable, her 15-year relationship with "Nell" ended awfully and her subsequent affair with an elderly married man was mostly imagined. Toward the book's end, she's almost ditching her relationship with a divorced father, resenting his intimacy with his daughter. Her anger at her dysfunctional parents seethes throughout, culminating in a fantasy of joining her (now deceased) mother in a bar, and walking out just when Mom's ordered her a drink. By ending on that note, O'Faolain hints that her parents' lovelessness made it hard for her to love, an unsatisfying conclusion to such a nuanced account. Still, readers will enjoy O'Faolain for her witty turns of phrase: as an ex-smoker, she follows street smokers "to gulp their slipstreams," and she fears she's aging so badly she's "joining the rejects of the next-to-Last-Judgment." Her self-deprecation-so reminiscent of Jean Rhys-can be oddly comforting. (Feb. 24) Forecast: Irish writer O'Faolain's popularity in the U.S. (My Dream of You was a 2001 New York Times Notable book and it, along with Are You Somebody?, hit bestseller lists) will help this book's sales. Expect St. Patrick's Day tie-ins. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
This memoir picks up where O'Faolain's Are You Somebody? left off. As she settles into her fifties, she reflects on her failed relationships, her career as a journalist, her Oxford education, and a childhood that included an alcoholic mother and unfaithful father. Despite having celebrity status and enough money to travel and devote time to writing fiction, O'Faolain finds herself pondering the meaning of family and the importance of belonging. She looks ahead but also back at a life fully lived but only half realized. Throughout the process of trying to clarify the direction of her future, she takes time to consider mistakes she's made and mend the fences worth keeping. What O'Faolain ultimately comes to accept is that there can be more than one place to call home and that while parents can scar a child, it's what that child grows to understand that can finally heal the heart and open a door for others to enter. Her honest self-appraisal moves and inspires her listeners with a vision of old age that isn't half bad. Irish wit peppers most passages, and O'Faolain's lilting Dublin accent washes over the listener with a measure of familiarity. Highly recommended for all collections.-Gloria Maxwell, Penn Valley Community Coll., Kansas City, MO Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
With the same emotional spadework as in her bestselling Are You Somebody? (1998), O'Faolain turns over the past half decade to try understanding how and why they happened. O'Faolain moves from her 50s to her 60s during these years, and she feels the narrowing of time and prospects. The narrative is broken into shortish segments, as if the charge of her thoughts quickly saps her energy, so hard do they burn. She is childless and alone at the start, having just ended one long-term relationship, though soon enough she launches a rather greedy affair with an older (and, as she'll later discover, married) workingman (one senses she is tapping him for character material to use in a novel) and then starts a new love affair in America with a man named John. "One of the great things about this time of life," she says, is "that good things matter to their fullest extent, because you know exactly how rare they are." This includes, for her, the rekindling of society with her older siblings, friendships, and an alertness to the pleasures of animals and the natural world. But O'Faolain is one to worry the ambiguities and ambivalences in all that touches her life-shrewdly, artfully, without equivocation. There are obvious things: her alcoholic mother, family pain, the regrets of a spent-blown-youth, drinking too much, the disappearance of love, the place of women in Irish culture, the place of Ireland in her heart. And there are things you wish she'd leave well enough alone, like the minor problems with John (and, oh, how readers will pull for that relationship) that she picks at obsessively. O'Faolain may be "almost there"-free of turbulence and waste, out of the wild hills and onto calm water-but shemay also be constitutionally incapable of such a condition: there's too much grit in her keen eye to let it rest easy upon the world. Author tour
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781573222419
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 2/24/2003
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.58 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Meet the Author

Nuala O'Faolain

Nuala O’Faolain was a waitress, sales clerk, and maid; a university lecturer; a TV producer; and a columnist with The Irish Times. The author of three consecutive New York Times bestsellers, her books include the memoir Almost There, a follow-up to Are You Somebody?, as well as two novels: My Dream of You and The Story of Chicago May. She died in Dublin in 2008.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

The Low Point

IF I HAD BEEN ASKED TO REPORT ON middle age when I was halfway through my fifties, I would have said that it was too bleak to talk about. Much too bleak if you believed, as I passionately did, that your life has been a failure. I seemed successful, I knew-I was an opinion columnist with an Irish newspaper, and columnists are not nobodies. But when I looked at the private side of my life, all I could feel was regret, and all I could see was what was missing. I had no child, and no other creation. I didn't have a partner. I didn't have a lover, however provisional, and I didn't have any appetite for one. I occasionally saw my sisters and brothers who lived near me, but I didn't think of them as a resource for everyday living. Our father had been a big fish in a small pond because he was the first journalist in Dublin to write a daily social diary about the receptions and parties and formal events that happened around the town every night. His dapper, charming figure, usually wearing evening dress, had been welcome everywhere he went. Not so, my poor mother. She was a shy, lonely woman, the inefficient manageress of wherever we happened to be living, a bookworm who, when she added drinking to reading, could escape the reality of nine children and a husband she was in love with but could not trust. Over the years, we watched our father become more sought after and our mother become a hopeless alcoholic. Worry about her became a bond between us when she was left a widow, but once she died too, the family didn't seem to have any function. Anyway, I felt that at the age of fifty-five I shouldn't be depending on the family I came from; I should have made acircle of my own. As it was, I didn't even have the company of colleagues in a workplace because I wrote my columns from home. And the truth was that I made no effort to find company. Every night I quietly drank just a bit too much wine, and other people would have interfered with that. There were only ten years to go till retirement from the paper. But what would I retire for? I had no savings, and because I'd only just joined the staff I wasn't going to have much of a pension. I had no plans anyway. My job with The Irish Times was much the best thing I had.

There's a famous challenge for writers in creating a character who's a convincing bore without boring the reader-Shakespeare is said to have pulled it off with the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet. I was so dull back then that even a description of my dullness would have too much life in it. I don't know that anyone outside me looked closely enough to know how I felt, but I was so low I thought I'd never come back up. When you're young, the endings of relationships are all swirling feeling, and the practical implications don't matter. But it's different when you're a shade nearer sixty than fifty, and you had taken it for granted that what you had together would be your life to the end. The house, with its dustmarks and jangling hangers where her clothes had been, was a constant reminder of the breakup with a woman so well known in Ireland as an activist and writer that she is a household name: Nell. Our home had also been an office for professional work, so there was all that to sort out-the telephones and the cable companies and the shared expenditures and the rerouting of mail. There were dishes, plants, quilts. Things reappeared. The porcelain soup tureen we bought that day in eastern Hungary when we saw Russia in the distance-a dark forestry plantation on the other side of a river-and sang "Lara's Theme" at the top of our lungs to whoever might be over there. Things like that, carrying our history, now devalued. And what about friends, holidays, the two families, all that we knew about each other and had allowed to be known? The house became more silent every day as her departure drained the life from it.

But I read once that certain pine trees need extreme cold to germinate-that is, the cold of the worst of winter starts new life in them by splitting their seeds. At least now, the wrangling was over. There were still strong bonds between us, and on my side gratitude, but I've seen it happen to other couples, too, that every sentence becomes a flashpoint, every statement is disputed, every point is hung on to until one person proves that the other is wrong. Dry, angry victories. We went for a kind of marriage guidance to a psychologist friend. After nine sessions she said to us, "Couldn't you go on living in the same house but make it an absolute rule not to talk to each other at all or have anything whatsoever to do with each other?" I read my book from six o'clock every evening in my room, my bottle of wine beside me. Nell worked in her own room. We would share a tight-lipped meal, cooked by me. She would not say thank you because she felt silently pressured into it. I would flame with silent rage because she did not say thank you. And one day, the previously unimaginable became possible. I had never even in my most secret thoughts imagined us parting, but suddenly it was the only thing we could do. She had harried me on some point-I used to back away from the sound of her voice-down the hallway as far as the front door. I leaned against it, turned around, and said the sentences that begin, "Just go!"

And that was that, after almost fifteen years.

I don't know of any other event that causes as much pain and destruction, and that is as little understood, as the end of love. It's written off as a woman's thing, as if men don't suffer just as much-financially, often, more-when a relationship breaks down. What authenticity is it that people are honoring when they refuse to live under the same roof-even roofs as wide as, say, the mansions Charles and Diana had at their disposal-though the well-being of children depends on it, though businesses depend on it, though everything is as it was except that the tide of affection has gone out? And why, when it does go out, can nothing at all make it come in again? For nothing that a name can be put to, the whole world of a shared life is torn into pieces and the pieces scattered, as if truth depended on getting rid of it. Maybe it was an illusion in the first place, the love, but if so, why should its absence be so devastating? What is it, anyway, within oneself, that is hurt so much by a withdrawal nobody wanted to happen and nobody can control?

When the tide went out for us I saw in the sand, so to speak, the outline of my obdurate self, which the years of companionship had obscured. It seemed to me proved, now, that I could not sustain a loving relationship. I had no experience of anything other than love disappearing, however long that took. It had been like that from the beginning: the first man I ever adored was the first man I left. This was a man in whose arms I had learned what making love can be like, a man with whom I'd seen the Mediterranean for the first time, who'd played Mozart on his old cottage piano for me, who'd slept out in the open with me and woken me to marvel at a satellite going across the indigo sky through the tracery of the cherry tree overhead. He had faithfully waited at piers and in train stations for me, shopped and cooked for me, bought things for me-sandals, I remember, elegant little sandals with fine red straps and a kitten heel, in San Remo-and yet I stood on a street in Dublin one winter night and he stood in front of me trying to talk, and I was surreptitiously rocking on one foot while I dangled the other one in the gutter. Barely, barely moving, concentrating on the tiny, inward feel of the rocking, so as to pass the time till he would stop talking and to distract myself from listening to him. And he had done nothing and I had done nothing to bring this about, nor was it in his interest or mine. It was just pure waste. And then much the same happened with the next person I greatly loved, except that this time he left me, and now this, the one that was meant to last forever. Gone.

But I had blessings to count. Though the house was lonely, the loneliness was purely private. I had my public role: I might easily hear something I'd written in the newspaper quoted on radio or television, or I myself would be on a discussion program. I valued my job very highly, not just the privilege of working out my point of view in front of an audience once a week, but the pleasure of finding the words for the arguments. The column wasn't very well paid, but then, I didn't work very hard. With what I had, I was paying off the mortgages on the Dublin house and on a two-room cottage in the west of Ireland. The Dublin house wasn't a home anymore, and the Clare one wasn't one yet-it had no heating, for one thing, and nothing to cook on except a broken range-but I loved being there. Whether in the west or in Dublin, I read all the time-the summer of the breakup I finished Remembrance of Things Past for the second time.

The hours of the evening when I listened to classical music and read with my whole self were rich. People think that solitary drinkers are fighting off misery, but it isn't like that-if anything, it's too attractive an occupation. And although I did drink too much I was still drinking less than I did in my thirties and forties. I honestly considered myself rather disciplined about drinking-when you have an alcoholic mother, almost anything short of gross alcoholism feels like an achievement. I was in good health anyway-"thank God" comes involuntarily to my lips when I say that, not because I think that there is a god who knows about me, but because I know that if you're not fortunate enough to be physically and mentally well, there's not much you can do about anything else. I was healthier, in fact, than I'd been since I was a girl, since I had managed that year, with incredible difficulty, to give up smoking cigarettes. This may seem a small thing, but anyone who has ever been a chain-smoker like me will know that quitting is so hard that you can hardly believe it-you move around delicately because your head feels as if it might fall off, and also because you're stunned at what you're trying to do. Conquering the addiction had been an action on the philosophic level, as well as every other. It involved taking hold of the way I imagined time. Instead of picturing the days stretching endlessly ahead, intolerably cigaretteless, I managed to train part of my mind into being in the here and now, where I could make the repeated decision not to smoke.

But I was barely succeeding. I followed people who were smoking in the street to gulp their slipstreams. In cafés and trains I was a keen passive smoker. I was obsessed with having cigarettes in my pocket to finger, so for months I carried a full pack in my pocket, replacing it with another when it became battered and began to leak tobacco. Once, a perfect stranger ran into a store after me and grabbed me to stop me buying the replacement pack, because he, like half of Ireland, had read my articles about trying to quit.

"I carry the pack so I won't feel deprived," I explained desperately. "The important thing is to avoid awakening every bit of deprivation you ever had in your life, beginning with the loss of the maternal breast. You have to emphasize to yourself that quitting is not a thing that's been done to you but a choice you've made."

He looked dubious. I didn't blame him. I was trying to brainwash myself into believing what the woman who ran the stop-smoking clinic had said. But I didn't believe anything she said. I didn't believe anything I said myself. I didn't believe anything except that I had a gaping void within me that ached to be filled full of smoke.

And yet-I did not fail. I became an ex-smoker. And after that I was able to believe in myself along a wider front. I decided to get a laptop computer and learn how to use it to send my pieces of journalism to the paper. So, after years of making no effort to learn anything new, I learned that. The laptop's Delete function was so different from the old typewritten sheets with their rows of Xs-reminders of each word and phrase that had been laboriously thought better of-that language itself seemed a refreshed medium now. Words swam into their place, where before they were cemented in.

I also decided to get a dog. And that's what I did, just before things went finally wrong in the relationship with Nell-indeed, I've wondered if my unconscious knew she and I were going to part and prompted me to get the dog so as to have something to keep my heart alive. I got Molly from the animal pound, a black and white mostly sheepdog mongrel pup, and I took her home and followed her around the house with wads of newspaper. I got her in advance of loving her. I had no idea of the abundance of pristine love a dog can release. I had no idea how grateful I was going to feel to her just for living with me. She was-she is-an honest, trusting, anxious little enthusiast of a dog, and I watched her as if I could learn from her-as if the simple truth she lives in is something a human can learn. And then I got a big, glossy, black cat, to keep Molly company. Not a very lovable cat, Hodge, but an impressive one, and above all, beautiful.

—from Almost There: The Onward Journedy of a Dublin Woman by Nuala O'Faolain, Copyright © 2003 by Nuala O'Faolain, Published by Riverhead Books, a member of the Penguin Group (USA), Inc., All Rights Reserved, Reprinted with Permission from the Publisher.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2003

    WARM AND WITTY

    This moving, thought provoking, warm, witty reflection by Irish journalist Nuala O'Faolain become an intimate conversation with a friend as it is read in the author's inimitable voice. '...I believed myself a failure....., ' Ms. O'Faolain opines. 'I hadn't acquired any of the usual rewards of the middle of life - I didn't have anyone to love or to love me. I had no child, no other achievement, no money. I quietly drank a bit too much wine every night.' These words follow the break-up of a 14 year relationship with Nell, an Irish feminist. Despairing of ever maintaining a loving relationship, Ms. O'Faolain seeks solace in reading, classical music, an adopted mongrel pup, and, of course, her work. Throughout 'Almost There' is a recurring theme: the search for love. Following Nell Ms. O'Faolain embarks on an affair with Joseph, an unlikely paramour if there ever was one. He is an ordinary older man with silver hair, a married truck driver who left school at 11, and found no need to be literate. Joseph is succeeded by John, a Brooklyn lawyer whom she met through an online dating service. She is now 61. He is twice divorced, the father of an 8-year-old daughter. Of her late-in-life new love she remarks that it is a time when 'good things matter to their fullest extent, because you know exactly how rare they are.' Some material found in 'Are You Somebody' is revisited in this follow-up memoir. She reiterates the price to be paid for speaking out in a country that 'put the lid on things.' For the Irish, she writes, 'Silence was the defensive strategy of a people who did not believe situations can be changed and did not imagine they could ever get away from each other....' And there again is the crux of the matter: the belief that she will forever be haunted by her mother's neglect. With the book's closing lines the author paints an imaginary reunion: her mother is sitting on a barstool, and moves over to make room for her daughter. Just as she does Ms. O'Faolain turns her back and walks out the door. 'Almost There' is rich, passionate, and ribboned with sadness. It is an uncommon examination of human longing and loneliness often sparked by Ms. O'Faolain's wry, self-effacing humor. It is tribute to a country written and read by one still searching for her home.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2003

    A MUST READ FOR EVERY WOMAN!!

    Highly recommend the book to all women. Definitely worth the time and the money. Inspires food for thought.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)