Eleven Edward Street

Eleven Edward Street

by Clare Boylan

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 - 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

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed. in the U.S

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