Orange Prize

Molly Fox’s Birthday – Deirdre Madden

Short listed for the Orange Prize 2009

It looks as though this year’s Orange judges have a love for books which reflect on life, as this is the third one which does so (fourth if you count The Invention of Everything Else, which does, although to a lesser extent). Molly is an actor, who has loaned her house in Dublin to a friend while she is away. The story takes place on just one day, which happens to be Molly’s birthday. Staying in Molly’s house brings back memories of their friendship, and how their lives have evolved over the years.

The book was quite easy to read, but I found the story quite ordinary. The characters didn’t have that special spark, and so their lives failed to engage me.  Near the end of the book we find out about Andrew, a mutual friend. I found his life this much more interesting than Molly’s, and I wish the book had been concentrating on him throughout, as it was too little too late for me. It did pick up in the last fifty pages, and the ending was very well crafted, but this wasn’t really enough to make up for the average start.

There were a few good quotes, but in comparison to Wilderness this book felt very light.

….everyone gets pretty well what they want in life because they make a point of doing so, but the problem is that a great many people either don’t know what it is they want or they won’t admit it,

This is a nice gentle read, but there is nothing particularly remarkable about it, and it is instantly forgettable.



I have now completed this year’s Orange short list, so I’m off to write a nice comparison post for you.

Have you read this book? Did you enjoy it?

12 replies on “Molly Fox’s Birthday – Deirdre Madden”

You are one productive reader, I must say. I will look forward to your recap! On a completely different topic, I had to tell you that I dreamed last night that you and a few other of my blogging friends attended my high school reunion, which is coming up this summer. But instead of the reunion happening in Indiana, it was down here in Orlando. My mind works in bizarre ways!

I agree with Sandy: how do you manage to read so swiftly? 😉

I haven’t read this book, but as I read the synopsis it reminded me strongly of both the book Tara Road by Maeve Binchy (which I read at the insistence of a work colleague many years back when she proclaimed it her “favourite book ever”…) or the movie The Holiday, where two characters swap homes and their lives change. I realize this isn’t perfect match for that, but still!

I think this is one I can do without reading. Thanks for the great review!

Sandy – How weird! I’ve never dreamt of bloggers. I hope I was being nice in your dream!

Steph – My husband is away a bit at the moment, so I have whole evenings by myself. I have to stay in with the boys – so once they’re asleep I have at least 4 hours reading time a night. Hopefully he’ll be around a bit more soon, so I can spend time with him, and get to go out with my friends.

Beth – Yes, this is probably a good holiday read – not too taxing, but OK in the end.

I have this “aversion” to books where the story takes place during a single day. That is also one of the reasons I never ever watched 24.

So I also think that I will pass on this one, but nevertheless thanks for a good review.

And then I think it is nice to have good time for reading 🙂

Louise – I love 24!! I have never had a problem to things which take place in one day, but I guess the writing has to be much stronger to get away with things like that.

I loved MOLLY FOX’S BIRTHDAY! But did no-one else pick up on parallels with Joyce’s ULYSEES? Or was it just me…………….! Great read, though, I thought – the sequence of one day made it fast paced for me.

I hadn’t read Ulysses when I read Molly Fox, and have only just started reading it now. I will keep an eye out for similarities between the two books as I progress through Ulysses. Thank you for pointing it out!

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