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From Barnes & NobleMolly Fox insists she is an "actor" not an actress. Her gift is for character acting, so she's rarely recognized on the street, and her greatest pleasure is Shakespearean theater. Despite the strength of her performances, Molly is found enigmatic by even her closest friends. Madden's novel is narrated by one of those friends, a nameless playwright holed up in Molly's home in Dublin, ostensibly working on a new play while Molly's off in New York.
Our narrator is constantly distracted from her writing by the artifacts of Molly's life: Molly's Victorian house is filled with things she's lovingly collected, and her garden is rich with blooms. While there, she soaks in Molly's life and relives parts of her own, reflecting on their friendship and their families, art and intimacy, work and love.
For the playwright, the summer proves to be an uncovering of the truths of those she's loved. An encounter with Molly's hapless younger brother, Fergus, yields a stunning truth previously undisclosed by Molly. A meeting with Andrew, a fellow writer, onetime lover and mutual friend of hers and Molly's, reveals long-buried secrets. But Molly herself, seen through the eyes of this narrator, remains elusive. Can anyone capture the mystery of this woman, of art, or of life itself — which in all its summery Irish beauty is as unknowable as our own souls?
"Crystalline and understated." — Richard Ford