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Interview with Myself

Julia O’Faolain, 23 June 1994

... draws out the other. Exiles are double. Like fiction-writers, they have bifocal vision. ‘So, Ms O’Faolain,’ asks my interviewing half – real interviewers always ask me this – ‘how Irish are you?’ My answer is that I need regular doses of an antidote, lest Irishness of a strain peculiar to exiles paralyse my mind. The antidote is selfdistrust and ...


Pat Rogers, 3 June 1982

The Samurai 
by Shusaku Endo, translated by Van C. Gessel.
Peter Owen, 272 pp., £8.95, May 1982, 0 7206 0559 8
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The Obedient Wife 
by Julia O’Faolain.
Allen Lane, 230 pp., £7.50, May 1982, 9780713914672
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by Jerzy Kosinski.
Joseph, 287 pp., £7.95, May 1982, 0 7181 2133 3
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Brother of the More Famous Jack 
by Barbara Trapido.
Gollancz, 218 pp., £6.95, May 1982, 0 575 03112 3
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... awful, whether they be shallow advice-mongers on local radio or self-dramatising actresses. Julia O’Faolain is good at rendering their excesses without falling into caricature. As for Carla, she is worried not just about reaching 40 but about reaching 37. When a neighbour’s child is hurt in a swimming-pool accident, she begins to fear ‘that ...

Queen to King Four

Robert Taubman, 19 June 1980

The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four and Five 
by Doris Lessing.
Cape, 245 pp., £5.95, May 1980, 9780224017909
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No Country For Young Men 
by Julia O’Faolain.
Allen Lane, 368 pp., £5.95, May 1980, 0 7139 1308 8
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The Girl Green as Elderflower 
by Randolph Stow.
Secker, 150 pp., £5.50, May 1980, 9780436497315
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The Sending 
by Geoffrey Household.
Joseph, 192 pp., £5.95, March 1980, 0 7181 1872 3
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... concealment, by the very fact of not being at all, on the surface, a gloomy one. A good part of Julia O’Faolain’s talent is for the vivid life of the scene: pub talk, or streams of consciousness indulging an Irish turn of phrase (‘It made Grainne feel useless and used up like a ruff of old blossom drying in the dimple of an apple’), or all the ...

Daddy’s Girl

Anita Brookner, 22 December 1983

Fathers: Reflections by Daughters 
edited by Ursula Owen.
Virago, 224 pp., £5.50, November 1983, 9780860683940
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... intellectual independence, one deserts his wife for another woman. Only Doris Lessing and Julia O’Faolain describe their fathers as distinct and separate entities, endowing them with the dimensions of characters in history, allowing them a proper dignity, yet ensuring that they remain physically anonymous. Angela Carter comes nearest of all to ...

The Intrusive Apostrophe

Fintan O’Toole, 23 June 1994

Sean O’Faolain: A Life 
by Maurice Harmon.
Constable, 326 pp., £16.95, May 1994, 0 09 470140 7
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Vive Moi! An Autobiography 
by Sean O’Faolain.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 377 pp., £20, November 1993, 1 85619 376 4
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... When, in 1941, Sean O’Faolain wrote to the Irish Times to protest about the ‘miserable fees’ paid by Irish radio for talks by Irish writers, he inadvertently set in train the most nightmarishly savage satire in that paper’s history. O’Faolain’s letter, and the response to it from the impoverished rump that constituted the Irish intelligentsia, led to the foundation by him of WAAMA, the Writers Artists Actors Musicians Association, a short-lived trade union for workers whose services were not exactly regarded as essential ...


Anne Enright: Censorship in Ireland, 21 March 2013

... easier. The furious energy of right-wing Catholic organisations was not to be doubted. In 1990, Julia Carlson wrote in her book Banned in Ireland that supplies in libraries and bookshops dwindled until the books available to the Irish reader consisted of religious works and those that celebrated Irish culture and Irish life. John McGahern took a different ...

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