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Première phrase
". . . Bastards . . . bastards . . . baaas . . . tards." He says it again and again in each and every intonation available to him, says it without moving a muscle or uttering a syllable, scarcely breathing, curled up inside the hollow of a tree once struck by lightning; cradle and coffin, foetus and corpse. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Extrait | Quatrième de couverture
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 3.9 étoiles sur 5  7 commentaires
20 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Splendid writing, spendid story. 18 juillet 1997
Par Mary Whipple - Publié sur
If you read the Kirkus Review above, you won't even have to buy the book, if all you are interested in is the plot.

Fortunately, there's much more here, and I wish I knew how O'Brien does it! Of the thousands of books I've read, this is the first one which really made me feel that the author "let the story tell itself." For most of the book, there's no sense that an author is pulling strings or trying to create. She "merely" presents fully drawn characters, and they truly live on the page.

Yet at the conclusion, the admiring reader realizes that every conflict and ultimate reversal in the book has had a fine hand guiding, but never obviously controlling, it--from Josie's psychological imprisonment to McGreevy's escapes, from her frustrations in love to his satisfactions, from her experiences that life is something that happens to her to his belief that one must mobilize to work toward a higher goal, from their attitudes toward the church to their conflicted feelings about the IRA.

Somewhat extravagant in its romanticism at the end, that extravagance, nevertheless, is totally appropriate to its subject, its characters, and its Irish setting.
16 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Female writer gets it right 18 juillet 2003
Par Donna J. Oestreich-hart - Publié sur
I won't summarize the story, because you have several other summaries already. I will only say this: Several of the analytical comments below are simply wrong. O'Brien's view of Ireland's history is right on the mark. Ireland's "troubles" really started in the 1100's when Irishman Dermott McMurragh asked King Henry II of England to allow him to recruit Anglo-Norman mercenary soldiers to help him defeat his Irish enemy. Those mercenaries came, liked it, and stayed. THAT was the beginning of the English occupation of Ireland. But even before that, Irish families fought among themselves for control of the land and resources. You only have to read the "Cattle Raid of Cooley" to know that. In a very real sense, there IS blood in the very soil of Ireland. And O'Brien is RIGHT that the only way to ever solve that problem--or the Middle Eastern problem or the American racial problem--is for EVERY voice to be heard (that's why the narrative voice keeps changing; it is purposeful)and EVERY person to be known as a human being and not just as "them" or "the enemy."
She has these two unlikely people, each with their grievously painful stories, come to know and respect each other. She becomes like Mother Ireland (Cathleen ni Houlihan) to him, and he becomes to her like the child that she never had, the one she aborted.
It is a book that is about understanding and forgiveness, a theme amazingly and ultimately spoken through the voice of the aborted child itself. In the first chapter, this dead child's spirit hates her mother and wants her to suffer, but in the end, she understands and forgives. That is what the child prays for in the end, understanding and forgiveness.
12 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Spare Prose and Extraordinary Power 3 février 2001
Par James Carragher - Publié sur
Edna O'Brien in general and this very fine novel in particular deserve a much greater readership. The plot here -- IRA fugitive, McGreevy, hides out in the crumbling home of an aged widow, Josie -- is the simple premise on which O'Brien builds a vertiginous, multi-layered tale of fatefully intersecting interpersonal and national histories. The third person narrative points of view are multiple and, especially in the quick cuts to those on the fugitive's trail, occasionally confusing. McGreevy and Josie are both superbly drawn and utterly convincing, although their emotional linkage is achieved too quickly, just as the flashbacks to Josie's horrid marriage make her reveries of quiet good times with her husband scarcely credible. The prose is spare, with no wasted words, and one of the wonders of this novel is that O'Brien nonetheless thoroughly conveys the lushness of the drizzly Irish countryside, the complexity of the struggle and the underlying sense of national unity that all the characters -- no matter how harshly at war with one another -- feel. And she has packaged all that in what is also from start to finish a superbly suspenseful tale. The 230 or so pages flash by, making The House of Splendid Isolation an exciting and rewarding one-sitting read.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 In tact 28 janvier 2013
Par laura - Publié sur
Achat vérifié
For a "used" book, I was impressed with the shape it was in when it arrived at my house. No tears, and the cover had no watermarks, rips, ect.
6 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Desperate Events Lead Two Lost Souls To Solace 22 avril 2001
Par C Jones - Publié sur
Mutual empathy and an unlikely friendship develop between an IRA terrorist named McGreevy, and an elderly widower, Josie O'Meara, in Edna O'Brien's, House of Splendid Isolation. McGreevy is on the run and desperately needs to find refuge when he comes across an old farmhouse owned and occupied by Josie. He takes the elderly woman hostage and they are stuck together in the house for several weeks as McGreevy faces a hostile standoff with the police. Once married to an abusive, law breaking alcoholic, Josie finds that McGreevy conjures up memories of her deceased husband. But soon Josie's fear and loath turn into compassion and understanding when she discovers the human side of McGreevy and learns that he too has suffered great losses in life. McGreevy, who has no desire to know the older woman, begins to admire and respect her, as she becomes sympathetic to his plight.
I looked forward to reading this politically motivated Irish story but found it to be only average. The narrative shifts needlessly throughout the book. Also, the characters are ambiguous in their feelings. For example, Josie barely knew her husband when she married him out of desperation. The marriage was a nightmare from day one, but years later she tenderly runs her fingers through the initials he carved on a tree and she saves his clothing and other belongings and holds them closely as she reminisces? Lastly, O'Brien's long-winded sentences and verbose prose detract from the story instead of enhancing it. The following is a sample sentence from page 94: "He'd love to take her off then, him and Nellie, across the lake and up the lordly Shannon, the Pilgrim's Way, a thing he'd always wanted to do, go through the big locks and the swing bridges, find a mooring at dusk, up to the town to a pub, wakening to the breath of nature, the herons, the grebe, and the mute swan, all around the hills bestirring themselves, heaving up out of the plains, blue and lilac, hills magnifying into the mountains." Whew! Believe it or not almost every sentence in the story reads as such.
The disjointed approach and wordiness of the book makes me only marginally recommend it to those, such as myself, who have a keen interest in the struggles of the Irish. However, if looking merely for entertainment, I'd skip by House of Splendid Isolation.
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