I am Mary Dunne
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He attended St. Malachy's College, a Catholic school, where the students where beaten on the hands daily. He left the college without a School Leaving Certificate because he failed Math. In , a bomb damaged the family home, so they moved to a house on Camden Street. A year later, his father died. In , he joined the National Fire Service, but knew that he wanted to be a writer. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3.
Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of I am Mary Dunne. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I read this book when I was very young, either teen or early twenties. I found Mary's identity problems because of the different last names she had had infantile and her PMS problems contrived. Clearly the author was a male.
It's impressive that I remember being annoyed after almost 20 years. This book portrayed a woman that was everything I did not want to be. And after several husbands I can with confidence say I never had any identity issues for that reason. My last name does not define me. It shouldn't have done so for you either, Mary Dunne. The past can be part of the present, but not for such long periods of time. Moore should have done less. Feb 27, Michael M. I absolutely loved this book.
I read both negative and lukewarm reviews which almost convinced me to skip it. I decided to give it 10 pages - if I lost interest before then I'd shelve it, but I was hooked after 5. Please, NYRB!!! I can safely say I found the writing and characterization spot on, and though Mary's "mad twin" was mentioned a bit more than I would I absolutely loved this book.
I can safely say I found the writing and characterization spot on, and though Mary's "mad twin" was mentioned a bit more than I would have liked and I can understand why some see it contrived or mansplain-ey , it didn't distract me or take me out of the novel. Mary's fear, doubt, irritability, mania, distaste, severe anxiety, guilt, repression - she's not a likable character by any means, but I found her fascinating, real every character in the book could be someone I know - I even saw some of myself in Mary, and I'm a guy and so, so readable.
I also think the different sides of her personality, the inner and outer monologue, were wound together perfectly. I didn't love every character, but every character was fully realized and three dimensional.
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Even the ones I hated, I loved to hate. I think Mary has severe anxiety in addition to other mental issues - and maybe I'm just projecting since I, too, suffer from anxiety - how one little incident like forgetting your name briefly can set off a domino effect of endless, exaggerated and paranoid thoughts.
How you sort of lose yourself, or the idea of who you are, that derealisation of, "What am I supposed to be? What am I supposed to be thinking? Except she actually is going insane. The whole book is her "down tilt". Her different last names are how she mentally categorized each chunk, each stage of her life - she wasn't defined by who she was married to, but who she was and what she was when she had that last name.
I am Mary Dunne : Brian Moore :
The years she had it. It's all in this paragraph: "Not knowing is the worst, it is those other things I do not know, like the name and the face of the woman who was in bed with my father the afternoon he died, it is those things I will never know, they are what frighten me, and it is because of them that I can no longer find my way back to the Mary Dunne I was in my schooldays, to that Mary Phelan who giggled and wept in the Blodgett's bed-sitter, or to that girl who laughed long ago in a winter street when Hat cried, "Mange la merge," when such things were funny, and I was Mary Bell.
I will not even be able to go back to today when I am Mary Lavery, for today was a warning, a beginning, I mean forgetting my name, it was like forgetting my name that day, long ago, Juarez, I will forget again, I will forget more often, it will happen to me every day and perhaps every hour, and as I sat on my bed and thought of that, the dooms came down, the Juarez dooms.
I can't imagine those who loved Judith Hearne not loving this one. View 2 comments. Probably more of a 3. This is the fifth or sixth novel of Moore's that I've read, but the first that isn't set in N Ireland. Published in , the book is a first person narrative told by Mary Lavery, a 32 year old Canadian living in New York with her third husband Terence, a successful British playwright. While the 'present' consists of a single day, during which Mary constantly refers to her 'evil twin' PMT issues , a series of encounters-a hairdressing appointment, Probably more of a 3.
While the 'present' consists of a single day, during which Mary constantly refers to her 'evil twin' PMT issues , a series of encounters-a hairdressing appointment, a lecherous encounter with a stranger in the street, lunch with an 'old friend' and a disastrous dinner with a friend of her second husband, force her to retell the stories of her past marriages and confront the demons associated with them. Moore is known for his empathetic portrayal of female characters, and this one is another that he has been praised for creating; my problem was that I just didn't warm to her.
She is possibly on the verge of a breakdown, but as she looks back upon her life, I had little sympathy for her because of the way she had treated some of her ex partners.
And as was the case in The Doctor's Wife, I felt a little uncomfortable when reading the pretty graphic sex scenes. All in all, a novel that, while critically acclaimed, didn't stand out for me in comparison to the others of his that I've read. Apr 19, Kevin Darbyshire rated it it was amazing.
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A difficult read that has an almost claustrophobic aspect. It's difficult to understand if the principle character is on the edge of some kind of major breakdown or it is in fact just PMT as she thinks. It was difficult to warm to Mary because of the way she had treated others in the past but I really felt the confusion and anxiety she experienced as the story unfolds. Not sure what I expected from the ending but for me the story felt a little unfinished. I don't think this story is for everyone A difficult read that has an almost claustrophobic aspect. I don't think this story is for everyone but I enjoyed it overall.
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View 1 comment. She's currently married to her third husband but can't help remembering events from the past even though she has trouble with her memory.
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Brian Moore is a new favourite author of mine but I was a little wary of this one at the beginning as he adopts a first-person narrative where we are dropped straight in to the confusion that is Mary's life; but Moore handles it really well and although it takes a little while to work out which husband is which and who all the other people are in Mary's life Moore slowly reveals the details so that we can begin to make sense of her life.
Within the first few pages of the book Mary recounts her morning visit to a beauty salon where the receptionist forgot Mary's name but when she asked Mary for it Mary's mind went blank until she gave her name as Mrs Phelan, her name from her first marriage. Then upon leaving the salon she was stopped in the street by a smiling man, a stranger, who said 'I'd like to fuck you, baby' and then walked off leaving Mary stunned then angry. It's not a great start to the day. Mary is currently living in New York but she's originally from Montreal, Canada.
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Her current husband is Terence Lavery, a British playwright, and as the novel unfolds it seems that she's finally settled on a man whom she truly loves and who loves her. But she always feels that she's playing a part; with each husband she has had to act differently. For Jimmy I had to be a tomboy; for Hat, I must look like a model; he admired elegance. Terence wants to see me as Irish: sulky, laughing, wild.
And me, how do I see me, who is that me I create in mirrors, the dressing-table me, the self I cannot put a name to in the Golden Door Beauty Salon? She doesn't quite know who she is. With each husband she feels that she has to be different.
I am Mary Dunne
Even when she changes jobs she feels that her identify has to be detroyed and re-created. On the day of the novel she is mostly possessed by her Mad Twin self. And she's a bit of a blabbermouth, she says things before thinking through the consequences. I am, always have been, a fool who rushes in, a blurter-out of awkward truths, a speaker-up at parties who, the morning after, filled with guilt, vows that never again, no matter what, but who, faced at the very next encounter with someone whose opinions strike me as unfair, rushes in again, blurting out, breaking all vows.
This confession comes when she's relating a visit from an old gent who is looking to rent the flat while she and her husband are going to be away. She notices that his clothes are a little shabby and recognises him vaguely from somewhere and more or less accuses him of casing the joint. Emabarrased, he tries to leave, but Mary Mad Twin Mary , realises that she's made a mistake, chases after him to try to apologise even though it's too late.
It turns out that he's lonely and just likes looking around rich people's flats and meeting people. During the novel we find out more about Mary's past, her family and her previous jobs but the stand-out scenes for me are the two times throughout the day when she meets up with old friends.
First she meets up with her old friend from Montreal, Janice Sloane, who's in New York for a few days. This lunch scene is very amusing, right from the start there's a mix up over the restaurant they're going to.
From the Publisher : 'An extraordinary piece of feminine characterisation. Buy New Learn more about this copy.
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