Forty-Seven Roses

Forty-Seven Roses

by Peter Sheridan
     
 

A family secret, a sacrifice for love, a dying mother, a search for the truth: the ingredients of 47 Roses suggest a compelling novel. But for Peter Sheridan, these are not the elements of fiction-they are the ingredients of his own life.

In 47 Roses, Sheridan tells the moving and sometimes shocking story of "the other woman" in his parents'…  See more details below

Overview

A family secret, a sacrifice for love, a dying mother, a search for the truth: the ingredients of 47 Roses suggest a compelling novel. But for Peter Sheridan, these are not the elements of fiction-they are the ingredients of his own life.

In 47 Roses, Sheridan tells the moving and sometimes shocking story of "the other woman" in his parents' lives. Upon his father's sudden death in Dublin, Sheridan finds out about his father's almost fifty-year relationship with Doris, an Englishwoman who was both less and far more than a mistress. Sheridan elegantly describes his search for the truth in the face of resistance from his mother, who falls fatally ill. He eventually meets Doris and learns that she never married, living only for her brief meetings with Sheridan's father. This beautifully written portrait of a marriage forces us, like Sheridan himself, to face truths of the heart that refuse to conform to the easy verities of convention.

Author Biography: Peter Sheridan is the author of 44: Dublin Made Me. A leading figure in Irish theater, he has served as director of the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, the Irish Arts Center and Irish Repertory Theater in New York, and the Los Angeles Theater Center.

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Editorial Reviews

The New Yorker
In this marvellous, nervy sequel to his childhood memoir, "44: Dublin Made Me," the Irish theatre impresario Peter Sheridan revisits his parents' marriage and discovers, after his father's death, that an Englishwoman whom he had known as a family friend was also his father's mistress on and off for almost fifty years. Sheridan's prose style is Chekhov by way of Monty Python and Rabelais, and this extravagantly sympathetic portrait of all the parties involved -- including the ferocious, torchbearing Doris -- is hilarious.
Publishers Weekly
Irish playwright Sheridan returns to the same themes of his debut memoir, 44: Dublin Made Me, further exploring his childhood, family and city. The plot focuses on a complex m nage trois between his parents and a British woman named Doris, a relationship that spanned 47 years and two countries. Intriguingly, this plot is never resolved: the deeper Sheridan explores, the more elusive the characters and their motivations become. He does not unearth Doris's intentions nor does he delve into why his mother, Anna, allowed another woman in her marriage. Sheridan approaches these mysteries with a combination of temerity and timidity: he'll ask Doris why she used contraceptives when she slept with his father yet shy away from confronting his mother with similar personal questions. Sheridan thus creates a joyfully uneven experience, leaving readers to discover the small details gradually, the entire story never revealed until the very end. The narrative proceeds primarily through Sheridan's own flashbacks or through long, italicized segments delivered in first person by Anna or Doris. These segments, though sometimes cumbersome and detached from the main narrative, provide the reader not only with shifting points of view, but also with rich Irish and British vernacular. Sheridan's secondary characters are the members of his extended family, including his alcoholic aunt and uncle from Australia. Another key character is the city of Dublin, with its songs, customs and politics. Although at times burdened by excessive sentimentality, Sheridan does succeed in conveying an Irish atmosphere and the more worldly issues of fidelity, betrayal and unrequited love. (On sale July 1) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
In this sequel to his highly praised memoir, 44: Dublin Made Me, Sheridan a notable figure in the Irish theater recounts being summoned home for his father's death only to discover the sacrifices his father had made to keep his Catholic household together. "Da" (Peter the elder) had married "Ma" (Anna) at a young age in an Irish Catholic marriage sanctified by their parish priest even though Peter did not have parental approval. Several years later, Da met and fell in love with Doris, an Englishwoman and Protestant. While his conscience and church would never allow him to marry Doris, he could also never quite give her up. This is the story of their life together and apart. Ma knew about their relationship yet chose to keep her family together and agreed to allow Doris the occasional visit to the Sheridan household. This unconventional arrangement allowed Sheridan's parents to maintain their marriage for over 50 years. To Sheridan's credit, he sought out Doris after his father's death to learn the truth. The story he found is related in this moving account of the lives of his father, his mother, and Doris. Recommended for libraries with large memoir and Irish collections. Pam Kingsbury, Florence, AL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The "other woman" surfaces at last and with a vengeance in this tour-de-force sequel to the author's applauded family memoir, 44: Dublin Made Me (1999). Former director of Dublin's renowned Abbey Theater, Sheridan can add his name to that list of Irish writers in whose hands the English language plays like a harp: endlessly yet effortlessly lyrical. The soaring tenets of the Catholic faith versus the reality of what flesh is heir to would be grist enough for this kind of talent, but in Sheridan's case, a triangular romance engendered by a paterfamilias with pretensions of practical bigamy enters the mix and endures as the boy becomes a man. Following his father's death, Sheridan revisits his own coming of age in the context of unraveling and coming to terms with the bizarre relationship of his parents and the indefatigable Doris, a wraith of an Englishwoman with a supernatural sense of commitment. Of his iron-willed mother, Sheridan writes: "Ma knew instinctively that to criticize Da was to make herself vulnerable. Instead, she welcomed Doris into the bosom of her family, from where she could keep a close eye on her." Much of the narrative concerns discovery of the true Da, viewed through the author's eyes and those of the two women he adored, betrayed, and inspired. The enduring tone, a juxtaposition of tenderness and hilarity, is crystallized at Da's wake, where the author finds himself "celebrating with laughter in a place designed for tears. I had never felt such sadness and joy side by side, never thought that loss could be so funny, never realized that laughter could be so spiritual." Sheridan's ear for priceless Anglo-Irish dialogue provides the engine that pulls each scenarioonstage and off, and his dramatic pacing is so expert that more critical readers may wonder how closely he's hewed to his story's factual basis. Everyone else will be too busy turning the pages. An outrageous, scandalously good-humored tribute from a loving son.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670031009
Publisher:
Viking Adult
Publication date:
07/01/2002
Edition description:
1 AMER ED
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.76(w) x 8.54(h) x 0.86(d)

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