Miss Emily eBook Ò Paperback


  • Paperback
  • 256 pages
  • Miss Emily
  • Nuala O'Connor
  • 21 August 2016
  • 9780143126751

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Miss EmilyEmily Dickinson loves words than people She notices the beauty in the minutia of nature and sees random darkness of the world around her uite content to remain within the confines of her house and gardens in Amhurst she adores her friend Susan is indifferent to her family and whiles away her hours writing verse in her bedroom However when a new maid arrives from Ireland she is strangely drawn to her chatty and inuisitive nature Ada is not backward in coming forward and balances out the stuffiness of Amhurst delightfully There is life injected into the house and Emily and Ada become unlikely friends The smell of baking lingers in the downstairs kitchen and pantry the sound of chat is heard where there was formerly silence and Ada's beau is a freuent visitor to the Dickinson kitchen Ada's life is altered one fateful evening and things slowly begin to unravel A fear of the unknown a lack of family and a dreadful illness cause Ada to become a problem for the Dickinson family Emily is determined to help in whatever way she can but can she save Ada Is their friendship strong enough to go beyond the barrier of the staffemployer divideTo say I was chomping at the bit to read this novel is a bit of an understatement I have been a fan of Emily Dickinson's work since studying her for my school exams Not only are her words profound intense and memorable but researching her life was an unexpected pleasure The 'crazy' lady locked in her bedroom with no company but for her poems Dark depressed and dreary This is what many have come to believe about Emily's life and words But this is an incomplete and perhaps debatable or inaccurate picture Nuala O'Connor has identified with the woman behind the poetry The human being who devoured literature loved her friend and sister in law dearly appreciated nature for its simple existence and who said Hope is a thing with feathers That perches in the soul And sings the tune without the words And never stops at all Each chapter is given a uniue title which lends a feeling of a intimate read It also means the reader can return to favourite passages uite easily The chapter lengths are short yet each contains an eual measure of literary delight There are no fillers here For the first time I am considering buying the audio book to soak up the elouent words from another perspectiveThe author has taken a legendary poet and given her a voice through fiction Using wonderful prose elegant style and respectful narrative she has brought Emily to life Her famed 'darkness' is not relevant to this story her love of flora and fauna her trusting nature and her adoration of the written word are the important factors Her unexpected closeness to the family maid is the core of this tale Ada is what Emily needs and Emily is what Ada needs Two very different women two vastly different walks of life yet two characters who understand each other than anyone Meticulous research has led to a novel full of detail warmth depth and beauty It is historical fiction with elegance and integrity Just as Miss Emily Dickinson deserves Emily Dickinson’s life is reimagined in her own voice and through eyes of a young Irish maid—an enchanting novel in the spirit of Longbourn and Mrs PoeAda Concannon’s first day in America is a success She’s the new maid for the respected but eccentric Dickinson family of Amherst Massachusetts Despite the differences in age and class eighteen year old Ada “a neat little Irish person fresh off the boat” strikes up a deep freindship with Miss Emily the gifted elder daughter living a spinster’s life at home Emily is a bastion of support as Ada struggles to find her place in this new world while Ada’s toil gives Emily the freedom she needs to writeBut Emily’s passion for words begins to dominate her life She decides to wear nothing but white and increasingly avoids the outside world When Ada’s safety and reputation are threatened however Emily faces down her own demons in order to help her friend with shocking conseuences First a caveat this will be a very difficult book to read for anyone who is sensitive to depictions of sexual assault An incident of sexual violence is described in detail and becomes a key plot point for the second half of the novelThat said this novel is a winning depiction of a fictionalized Emily Dickinson told in part in Dickinson's own voice and in part through the voice of her Irish born housemaid Ada Concannon Emily sees Ada as a friend and an eual Over the course of the novel Emily will confront her own agoraphobia if we may apply that late 19th century word to a mid 19th century woman and put herself in danger for her new friend My favorite thing about this novel is its beautiful depiction of female friendshipMy second favorite thing about this novel is the fictional Dickinson's characterization Personally I believe Emily Dickinson is the English language's second greatest genius after Mr William Shakespeare It's wonderful to spend time with the poet in her home environment getting peeks into the origins of some of her best known verse If you read Seth Grahame Smith's 'The Last American Vampire' and I don't necessarily recommend that you do you may remember a footnote that suggests Emily Dickinson's famous reclusiveness was a result of her being a vampire and a not heterosexual one at that I liked that image and although this novel has nothing to do with vampirism it does make it clear that Emily's feelings toward her sister in law are of a romantic nature This Emily may be married to words and to her homestead but she's clearly neither asexual nor heterosexual And it works as characterization in this context whatever one may believe about the historical Emily DickinsonNuala O'Connor is the Anglicized name of Irish author Nuala Ní Chonchúir not to be confused with Northern Irish technology expert Nuala O'Connor I'm not sure why in the 21st century an Irish name would need to be Anglicized even for the American market That the English tried to ban the speaking of the Irish language and cut my European cousins off from our ancestral tongue is a sad historical fact Our indigenous language might well have died out if not for the systematic attempt in Irish public schools to reconnect the current generation with the mother tongue So I say at the risk of sounding like a Hyperbole and a Half comic Irish language all the thingsBut that's a bit beside the point unless you're a passionate Irish American word nerd like me Bottom line this is a beautifully written novel about two amazing women and the people and things they care about Whether you're a devoted American literature fan or simply a lover of authentically told historical fiction you will find much to appreciate hereI received this book through the Vine program in exchange for this review I’m a sucker for novels based on the lives of historical writers Emily Dickinson’s Amherst is an inviting setting and the alternating first person voices of Emily and the family’s Irish maid Ada Concannon are both well realized However the plot soon gets mired in the melodrama of a wrong done to Ada in the Dickinson household which results in a crisis that – you guessed it – reuires the reclusive Emily to leave the house After reading I remained greedy for of Emily’s inner life and poetry There are a few glimpses here for instance her love of baking and the hint that she had romantic feelings for her sister in law But I suspect I’ll have to pick up a full length biography to satisfy my interest in Emily DickinsonRelated reading The House of Hawthorne by Erika Robuck This lovely slender novels imagines a friendship between poet Emily Dickinson and their Irish maid Ada ConcannonI was immediately taken with this book as both Ada and Emily are charming and captivating The chapters alternate between their viewpoints as the story of their friendship and the dramas around them unfold O'Connor's Emily grabbed me immediately an intellectually curious woman happy to be in her home moved by the wilds of nature and the passions of the heart She hovers in the kitchen for sweets and bakes as a way to shower love on those around her; she composes in secret and doles out her poems carefullyAda is a willing audience a teenager fresh from Ireland bemused by Emily The Dickinsons are a kind family to work for and she thrives in their home yet heartache still hits her It is Emily who rallies to defend her and who helps her gain some measure of happiness despite tragedy O'Connor puts away any imaginary idea of Emily Dickinson as a pallid passive ghost hiding in the rafters; the complicated and curious woman emerges from her pages immediate and intriguingIt goes without saying that a novel featuring Emily Dickinson should read poetically; in this case O'Connor manages lyrical prose that doesn't emulate Dickinson's yet still offers the passion and boldness the poet captured in her spare lines My copy is heavily dog eared from the various uotes that caught me up and gave me pause like I look at her words one by one Love Thee Breath Smiles Tears It pleases me that each word is solitary a loner Side by side their staccato nature blends with others but in the end they stand alone Each word is a fence post upright demanding shrill but each one holds the fence erect and as such is indispensable p119or From now on I shall be candle white Dove bread swan shroud ice extraordinary white I shall be blanched bleached and bloodless to look at; my very whiteness will be my mark But inside of course I will roar and soar and flash with color p121The I write or talk about this book the greater my affection for it grows and it is one of my top ten reads for 2015I think this would make a fabulous book club read zippy yet bursting with wonderful discussion topics as well as those who love historical fiction featuring well known historical figures And of course fans of Irish fiction and Irish authors must get this one Ada Concannon the eldest of 7 children possesses an energetic zest for life that was unappreciated by her previous employer; upon being demoted to scullery maid she decides to seek her fortune elsewhere taking a passage on the boat to New England where her Aunt Mary Uncle Michael and a couple of not too friendly cousins resideShe lands on her feet with a job at the Dickinson household a family of four with the spinster sisters Vinnie and Emily neighbout to their somewhat gruff he was a treasure when he was younger recalls Emily brother Austin who is married to Sue one Emily appears to not very convincingly pine forEmily is reluctant to leave the house preferring words to company and attaches herself to Ada the kitchen being one of her preferred refuges thus friendship with the housemaid most importantHer friendship with the maid flouts convention and is a kind of uiet rebellion within the home that the poet rarely steps out ofChapters alternate between Miss Emily's and Ada's perspective to reveal brief but eventful encounters in the kitchen and rooms of the Dickinson home between the young Irish woman Ada the poet Emily Dickinson and those around themAlthough Ada is outgoing and attractive she still has something of the Irish reserve and tendency to silence when there is trouble And trouble there will be Ada and Emily must attempt to navigate the narrow space between their classes to deal with the trouble without compromising their reputationsMiss Emily is a lively charming read she brings her characters to life especially the Irish and creates a world we can uickly imagine and inhabit There is something comfortable and reassuring in her prose and novels that makes you want to abandon all else until the last page is turned Just as she did with Savage Mementos so too she achieves with Miss Emily My only regret is that it all ends too soon I’m still wondering about Ada and could easily follow after her into a seuel This novel tells the story of a friendship which develops between the reclusive poet Emily Dickinson and the new Irish maid in her household recently immigrated to AmericaIn all aspects it is pure delight Nuala Ni Chonchuir’s prose is simple and effortless Her expertise extends across her writing on the relationship between Emily and Ada to her descriptions of nature the basis of Emily Dickinson’s inspiration Even though the shocking event which befalls Ada does take over the mid section Emily’s actions and reactions to it brave and unusual for that era still play a vital roleCare is taken to develop the characters of Emily’s parents her sister and brother and the complicated relationship with her beloved sister in law Susan We are also given a feel for the debilitating episodes suffered by Emily and her reluctance to go outdoorsThis is a lovely read worth a long wait Nuala O'Connor Nuala Ni Chonchuir writes much as Emily Dickinson did with an economy of words that paint a vivid and lasting picture This book is a fictional but clearly well researched glimpse into one year of Emily Dickinson's life The novel alternates between Emily's voice including her poetry and thoughts on writing Amherst and being a recluse and the experiences of a new Irish immigrant who works as a maid in the Dickinson house Even if the reader knows nothing of Emily Dickinson they will find it hard to put down The story moves at a great clip seethes with secrets and heart It is charming and entertaining If the reader has an interest in the Poet then they will be charmed by the portrayal of Emily and her thoughts family and life This was a great read and I will be looking for of the author's work immediately While this novel is beautifully written I wound up not enjoying it as much as I’d expected to The pace is pretty slow and honestly I’m tired of rape being used as a plot device There are a number of historical novels out there that deal with this same exact storyline but the only difference is that this one is about Emily Dickinson’s servant Not much else about the class differences and oppression of women via sexual violence is said in this novel that hasn’t been said before Again I don’t think Miss Emily is a bad book because Nuala O’Connor writes beautifully it just isn’t anything original and the slow pacing affect my overall feelings about it Nuala brilliantly captures the 19th century atmosphere in the home of Emily Dickenson the poet and her relationships with her sister in law and her new Irish maidHer writing is particularly tender in the observation of the small detailsThe rape scene is horrific but is signalled well ahead of the incident55