Eleven Edward Street

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Boylan's moving ``prequel'' to Holy Pictures portrays a poor family's life in 1890s Dublin as animated and colorful yet at the same time bleak and full of suffering. The eighth of 10 children, Daisy Devlin struggles for recognition in the midst of everyday family chaos. When her father `molests' alone conveys this molests her, the bewildered girl is left scarred and guilt-riddensince she's not in fact guilty--dad is--but only feels that way . Daisy's somewhat delusional mother has concocted a grand past for herself and deeply resents her present existence, which grows still more precarious financially when Pa dies in an accident. The boys, of course, get special treatment, while one by one the girls are sent out to work in difficult, demeaning situations. Daisy enters a convent, but leaves when she finds love. In the end, the sister who tormented Daisy most as a child and a friend from a nearby orphanage--both women who have fallen far from grace--prove to be her true protectors. Boylan is best when writing about struggles in a large, penurious family. She also delicately captures the limited range of options available to poor Catholic women in turn-of-the-century novel said to be set in 1890s above Dublin; their stories are heartbreakingsince all but synonymous with heartbreaking? . Some of the references to political and world events (such as the sinking of the Titanic ) seem forced, but Boylan's rendering of Irish lower-class speech adds authenticity and has an appealing lilt. (June)
Library Journal
Action in this slight novel centers around an often overcrowded house at 11 Edward Street in Dublin, spanning the period from the 1890s to the 1920s. Daisy Devlin, the eighth of ten children, escapes being sent out to work at an early age by going into a convent, then flees the religious life after a chance encounter with a soldier, Cecil Cantwell. Described as a prequel to Holy Pictures ( LJ 9/1/83), 11 Edward Street attempts to cover too much material and too many years. The narrative is superficial, the characters little more than stick figures, and outside events so casually handled that even World War I makes little impact. Flashes of good writing demonstrate the reason for Boylan's previous successes (e.g., Black Baby , LJ , 11/1/89.), but her fans may be disappointed this time. (Published in England as Home Rule .)-- Ellen Kaye Stoppel, Drake Univ. Law Lib., Des Moines
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385261760
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/1/1992
  • Edition description: 1st ed. in the U.S
  • Pages: 288

Meet the Author

Clare Boylan
Clare Boylan
Employing her knack for research, her love of the Victorian novel, and her connection to kindred literary spirit Charlotte Brontë, award-winning Irish journalist and novelist Clare Boylan (1948- 2006) accomplished the formidable task of actually "finishing" Brontë's novel Emma Brown. It was the crowning achievement of her distinguished literary career.

Biography

Clare Boylan began her literary career as a journalist for the now defunct Irish Press. In 1974, while working for Ireland's Evening Press, she won the Journalist of the Year Award. She also worked as editor of Image magazine and lent her considerable style and elegance to that glossy lifestyle publication. Her first book, the novel Holy Pictures, was published in 1983. She went on to complete six additional novels, several collections of short stories, two works of literary nonfiction, and an impressive body of criticism.

The book for which Boylan is best known is Emma Brown, a brilliant, imaginative continuation of a 20-page novel fragment left behind by Charlotte Brontë. Before tackling the project, Boylan spent countless hours in painstaking research, immersing herself in the social conventions of Victorian London (where the novel takes place) and striving to re-create the subtle nuances of Brontë's unique literary voice. She succeeded admirably. Published in 2003, the book received lavish praise, especially for its pitch-perfect tone. Writing in the New York Times, reviewer Miranda Seymour raved, "Emma Brown is a powerful and magnificently written novel that does ample justice to the two brief chapters from which it sprang."

Boylan died on May 16th, 2006, from ovarian cancer, a disease she had battled for several years.

Good To Know

In our interview, Boylan revealed some interesting anecdotes about herself:

"As children my sisters and I read late into the night by torchlight. When the torches gave out we made up our own stories, cliff-hanging serials that always stopped at the most spine-tingling moment."

"I became a professional writer because it was a hidden profession. I always looked too young and too small for a proper job. As a teenager I got a summer job in a grocery shop, but I looked so unimpressive that I was put in the back cutting the stalks off cabbages. The two old ladies who ran the shop would not even let me out to join the street parade for John F. Kennedy, who was visiting Dublin. I have never forgiven them for that."

"My first poem was published when I was 16. It was called "First Love." It earned me ten shillings and a fan letter from a handsome older man (with a blurred photo enclosed) who wrote poems about his wartime experiences. After a fever of correspondence we agreed to meet. What a shock! I couldn't believe anyone could be so old. He had neglected to mention that his service was in World War One. I never wrote another poem, but I did write a short story about the meeting and that set me on the path to fiction."

"Holy Pictures was my first novel, published in 1983. Home Rule, published nine years later, was inspired by an old photograph I found in a friend's house. I realized it fitted exactly my image of Nan's mother, Daisy, and knew I had to tell the story of Daisy's childhood and early marriage."

"I have always loved walking, talking, and reading and I like interesting ways to exercise. I am currently learning to box -- great for me, but a challenge for my instructor teaching a skinny, middle-aged five-footer. Next project is to learn to ride a bicycle. I have been driving since my 20s but never learned to cycle."

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    1. Hometown:
      County Wicklow, Ireland
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 21, 1948
    2. Place of Birth:
      Dublin, Ireland
    1. Date of Death:
      May 16, 2006
    2. Place of Death:
      Dublin, Ireland

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