Josie, the ailing, elderly inhabitant of an Irish country mansion, dwells in the shadowy world of remembered pain and loneliness. McGreevy, the terrorist, reintroduces the possibility of compassion and tenderness, but there is an inevitably violent conclusion to their understanding as the police net closes.
With extraordinary skill and empathy, Edna O'Brien shows two faces of a divided land: the yearnings of a woman whose youthful joy was broken, and the intransigent idealism of her captor. Brave and moving, THE HOUSE OF SPLENDID ISOLATION is Edna O'Brien at her very best.
This is Edna O'Brien's 17th novel, and it is her best yet. Dark and earthy, raw and romantic, it throws together a man and a woman, a terrorist and a hostage, in an isolated Irish country mansion. Josie, victim of men, bitter, bruised, but still full of longing, is invaded by McGreevy seeking sanctuary, bloody but idealistic, himself a victim of history. Their ferocious struggle unfolds as both a powerful, poetic tale and a parable of Ireland's tragedy. (Kirkus UK)