Edna O'Brien moved from her native Ireland to London in 1954, but Ireland remained the focus of her fiction. She began publishing in 1960 and has produced a steady list of novels, collections of short stories and two biographies.
A Pagan Place, a coming-of-age novel published in 1970, sketches her home country as a pagan place and her countrymen as dysfunctional characters. Night followed three years later and provides a psychological study of Mary Hooligan who is the narrator and main character.
In addition to fictional works, O'Brien has penned brief biographies of James Joyce and Lord Byron. It is not surprising considering her own turbulent nature that she would choose fellow rebels as her subjects. As she explains in her introduction to Byron in Love: A Short and Daring Life, she wanted to learn first-hand more about Lord Byron's fascinating character.
Although she has enjoyed favorable reviews in Britain and in the U.S., her books were banned in Ireland for sexually explicit language and irreverent themes.
Both novels are available on Floor 5 of the Ort Library in the PR6065.B7 area: A Pagan Place and Night. The biography Byron in Love: a Short Daring Life is also available at PR4381.O47 2009.
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