Edna O'Brien returns to the world of her debut novel, The Country Girls, in an inspired account of a dying mother and her daughter
From her hospital bed in Dublin, the elderly Dilly awaits the visit of her daughter, Eleanora, from London. The epochs of her life pass before her; emigrating to America in the 1920s, a romantic liaison she had there, the destiny that brought her back to Ireland, and her marriage. She also retraces Eleanora's precipitate marriage to a foreigner, and Dilly's heart-rending letters sent over the years in a determination to reclaim her daughter.
Eleanora's visit does not prove to be the glad reunion that it might have been and, in her sudden departure, she leaves behind the secret journal of their stormy relationship.
The Light of Evening is a novel of dreams and broken dreams but, at its core, is the realisation that the bond between mother and child is unbreakable, stronger even than death.
O'Brien's eloquent, luminous prose is used to rich effect in this story of a mother and daughter, and the turbulent passions that they provoke in one another - Daily Mail
A courageous as well as an artful book. It is also a poignant one - Irish Times
Flashes of wry humour abound - O'Brien's anguish over the bonds between mothers and daughters is heartfelt - TLS
Ireland's greatest female writer - moving, dark and engrossing - Tatler
O'Brien's writing is as liltingly lyrical as ever. It is easy to get lost in the sheer lushness of her descriptions of life as a young Irish immigrant in America. - THE SCOTSMAN - Diane Maclean
flashes of wry humour abound..... O'Brien's anguish over the bonds between mothers and daughters is heartfelt, but the power of her book comes from the comparison between the existence of the woman who returned to the limitations of her early years and the life of one who escaped. Neither found happiness, which is why the tale is moving. - TLS - Sarah Curtis
O'Brien's eloquent, luminous prose is used to rich effect in this story of a mother and daughter, and the turbulent passions that they provoke in one another. - DAILY MAIL - Eithne Farry
it became apparent what was actually remarkable about her writing, what had been remarkable all along: it was not sex, at all: but honesty. - THE GUARDIAN - Anne Enright
a courageous as well as an artful book. It is also a poignant one. - IRISH TIMES - Joseph O'Connor
a stunning writer whose career has yet to be properly appreciated. - THE SUNDAY HERALD - Lesley McDowell
Written in elegant lyrical sentences that are, at times, nearer to poetry than prose, this is, in the evening
Devotees of O'Brien's novels will welcome her return to something like her old sensuous, sensitive poetic form. - THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH - David Robson
Since her debut novel The Country Girls Edna O'Brien has written over twenty works of fiction along with a biography of James Joyce and Lord Byron. She is the recipient of many awards including the Irish Pen Lifetime Achievement Award, the American National Art's Gold Medal and the Ulysses Medal. Born and raised in the west of Ireland she has lived in London for many years.