Maeve Brennan

Maeve Brennan

Homesick at The New Yorker

Book - 2004
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The tragic odyssey of Maeve Brennan, The New Yorker's Long Winded Lady, from happy Dublin childhood to Manhattan glamour, from brilliant literary accomplishment to madness, homelessness, death, and rediscovery . Maeve Brennan was an Irishwoman & a New Yorker; an intellectual & a beauty; a daughter, sister, aunt, lover, wife & friend. Witty, stylish, small & quick, she dazzled everyone who met her. She wrote some of the finest English prose of the 20th century, yet she was practically unknown in Ireland during her lifetime, and for 20 years before her death, was forgotten in her adopted America. Rediscovered & republished since 1997, her writings remain in the mind like a previously unknown species of animal or plant. Patiently, almost without mercy, her Irish stories probe the discomforts of quiet, careful, middle-class Dubliners, offering an unparalleled feminine view of a society & a place, an intimate history of modern Ireland; by contrast, her American stories throw the life of privileged New Yorkers & their Irish servants into grotesque relief. Brennan's fiction bores deep into her own memory, and her family's. It returns obsessively to the same houses, the same cruxes in a
Publisher: New York : Counterpoint, c2004.
ISBN: 9781582432298
Branch Call Number: 921 B8378b
Characteristics: xv, 333 p. : ill., ports.
Alternative Title: Homesick at The New Yorker


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Dec 13, 2015

I came to this biography by way of "Spinster" by Kate Borick, then the "Rose Garden" book of short stories by Ms. Brennan. This is a fascinating biography that brings together New York, Ireland, feminism, 20th century journalism, and mental illness. Ms. Brennan dates after Dorothy Parker, but the tone of the story in 1930-1970 feels so much like NY news and journalism.
If you can get through the first half of the book that details her upbringing in Ireland, it will pay off in the second half. You really have to know her background to appreciate the autobiographical nature of her material and the strained relationships in the family.
I may never read more Maeve Brennan in my life, but I appreciated this little excursion.

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