Almost There

Almost There

The Onward Journey of A Dublin Woman

Book - 2003
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In 1996, a small Irish press approached Nuala O'Faolain, then a writer for The Irish Times, to publish a collection of her opinion columns. She offered to compose an introduction for the volume, and that undertaking blossomed into an "accidental memoir of a Dublin woman" and a book called Are You Somebody'that was published around the world and embraced so wholeheartedly in the U.S. that it reached the number-one position on the New York Timesbestseller list and launched Nuala O'Faolain on a new career. Hailed universally for her unflinching eye ("A beautiful exploration of human loneliness and happiness, of contentment and longing."-Alice McDermott, The Washington Post Book World); her wisdom ("A remarkable memoir, poignant, truthful, and imparting that quiet wisdom which suffering brings."-Edna O'Brien); and her boldness ("An immensely courageous undertaking."-The Irish Times), Are You Somebody'took readers from O'Faolain's harrowing childhood, through decades defined by passion and a ferocious hunger for experience, to a middle age notable for its unbroken solitude and longing. The success of the book's publication robbed O'Faolain of her obscurity, but the traits that defined her life remained obstinately intact. In Almost There, O'Faolain begins her story from the moment her life began to change in all manner of ways-subtle, radical, predictable, and unforeseen. It is a provocative meditation on the "crucible of middle age"-a time of life that forges the shape of the years to come, that clarifies and solidifies one's relationships to friends and lovers (past and present), family and self. It is also a story of good fortune chasing out bad-of an accidental harvest of happiness. Almost There, like its predecessor, is a crystalline reflection of a singular character, utterly engaged in life. Intelligent, thoughtful, hilarious, fierce, moving, generous, and most of all, full of surprises.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2003
ISBN: 9781573222419
1573222410
Branch Call Number: 070.92 O'Faol
Characteristics: 275 p

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raybabes Oct 01, 2015

Nuala is a complex person; humble and honest at the same time, somewhat self centered. While she is interesting and gives philosophical insights, she has not grown from her journey in life. Especially at the end where she is so hostile acting out her own childhood deprivation on to the 8 yr old daughter of her lover. In the interview before her death it seems to me that if life is a "classroom" she has learned nothing from her journey. This is still a good read and very engrossing.

e
errington
Jun 23, 2012

This memoir has a lot to offer, about love, literary success, family, and growing old alone, among other things. Occasionally I found it troubling, it maybe taking a few too many steps over the fine line between tact and truth. But that's the occupational hazard of memoirs, I guess, and Nuala talks quite a bit about this very thing, the toes she stepped on, for instance, because of her earlier memoir, "Are You Somebody?"

That book became an international best-seller, and the impact of this on her personal life provides the main plot-line, as it were, of "Almost There." In the course of telling us that story Nuala says much, wonderfully well, about much else.

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errington
Jun 23, 2012

"If there is a God, he must be exhausted by the vigor with which his creatures grasp onto their destiny and try to make it make sense, even to the point of spelling it out to a stranger." (p.129)

e
errington
Jun 23, 2012

"I called my novel 'My Dream of You,' which is a phrase with multiple resonances in a poem by Montale. But I meant something quite simple by it. There are love objects we simply dream up. They are not real people to us; they are the embodiment of a dream. We unleash both want and need onto them, and while we're dreaming, we believe that they can fill up the bottomless pit where want and need are endlessly renewed." (p. 94)

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