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The rose garden : short stories /
Maeve Brennan.
1st ed.
Washington, D.C. : Counterpoint, 2000.
307 p.
1582430500 (hc. : alk. paper)
More Details
Washington, D.C. : Counterpoint, 2000.
1582430500 (hc. : alk. paper)
catalogue key
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1999-11-01:
A New Yorker writer from 1949 to 1981, the late Brennan also wrote many short stories, some published in 1997's The Springs of Affection. Six of the 20 stories in this volume are collected for the first time. Set in and around New York and Dublin, Brennan's carefully crafted scenes are reminiscent of James Joyce's Dubliners for their subtle epiphanies of anesthetized life. "The Bride" is typical, concerning Margaret, a vulnerable Irish immigrant maid who is trapped by a bullying plumber into a loveless marriage. The stories set in Herbert's Retreat fictionalize Snedens Landing on the Hudson River, where Brennan and her second husband, New Yorker managing editor St. Clair McKelway. lived. Four of them feature Charles Runyon, noted man of letters and theater critic (nicknamed "Mr. God"). In "The View from the Kitchen," the maids critique the lady of the house, Leona Harkey, and her fascination with "Mr. God." Another narrative is an ironic sketch of good taste becoming absurd, centered on Runyon's pink-and-white striped shirt and Leona's adoring copy. In "The Stone Hot-Water Bottle," a social absurdity finally pushes Leona into a nuanced but distinct rebellion against her idol. The title tale is set in Dublin, where a 39-year-old shopkeeper with two young children watches her husband slowly die, her memory searching for meaning in the rose garden of a local convent. Unable to translate her exploration into terms others can understand, she is perceived as being wretchedly selfish. Although Brennan's approach includes humor and social commentary, these stories are too dark to be called comedies of manners. Rather her focus centers on the tragedy produced when an individual's need for expression is countered and restricted by the need for societal acceptance. Readers moved by this veteran writer's storytelling skill will welcome the reemergence of the late Brennan's perspectives. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 1999-12-01:
Many of the characters in Brennan's Rose Garden do not get enough sunlight, and most of them die before they ever bloom. In this companion volume to 1997's The Springs of Affection, which includes six previously unpublished pieces, the former New Yorker writer dissects malicious, martini-swilling New York suburbanites, the Irish maids who rip their airs to shreds, a self-conscious Dublin housewife, and other emotional transients with a meticulous hand. Her tepid-tea tone and crisp descriptions may make readers think that she does not care about their lot. Theater critic Charles Runyon and his partner-in-party-crimes Leona Harkey--the subjects of most of the stories--don't deserve a kick in the arse. Empathy in Brennan's canon is a precious emotion, and she only awards it when the oppressed overpower the cruel elite with more cruelty. The closing stories, which honor her beloved cats, black Lab, and Long Island beach cottage, further reveal her mistrust of human nature and love of solitude and innocence. Recommended for larger collections.--Heather McCormack, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, November 1999
Library Journal, December 1999
Booklist, January 2000
Chicago Tribune, January 2000
Los Angeles Times, January 2000
New York Times Book Review, February 2000
Washington Post, March 2000
New York Times Book Review, July 2001
Washington Post, July 2001
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Table of Contents
The View from the Kitchenp. 3
The Anachronismp. 16
The Gentleman in the Pink-and-White Striped Shirtp. 39
The Jokerp. 52
The Stone Hot-Water Bottlep. 70
The Divine Fireplacep. 94
The Servants' Dancep. 111
The Bridep. 153
The Holy Terrorp. 159
The Bohemiansp. 172
The Rose Gardenp. 184
The Beginning of a Long Storyp. 204
The Daughtersp. 225
A Snowy Night on West Forty-ninth Streetp. 232
I See You, Biancap. 250
The Door on West Tenth Streetp. 263
A Large Beep. 275
The Children Are Very Quiet When They Are Awayp. 279
In and Out of Never-Never Landp. 283
The Children Are There, Trying Not to Laughp. 302
Notep. 309
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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