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7 Reviews
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and moving, 2 Aug 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Beloved Stranger (Hardcover)
A beautifully constructed tale of marriage and manic depression, in which all the characters are portrayed with warmth and sensitivity. I read it almost at one sitting, so intense was the atmosphere and gripping the tale. A very sympathetic account of an initially somewhat distant daughter dealing with the changes manic depression creates in her parents' relationship. Wonderful description of her relationship with her elderly parents, particularly her accepting yet amazingly resilent mother. For anyone interested in issues of manic depression (bipolar disorder as it is also known) can I suggest Kay Redfield Jamison's book: An Unquiet Mind (Picador).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A deeply compassionate, beautifully written novel., 3 Oct 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Beloved Stranger (Hardcover)
This is the best novel I have read all year, and undoubtedly Boylan's best yet. She has managed to make a book charting manic depression, and a stifling marriage spanning half a century come to life magnificently. At first one feels little more than sympathy for Dick and Lily, but by the end of this deeply satisfying novel, I loved them all dearly. I cannot recommend this enough! Read it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beloved Stranger, 11 July 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Beloved Stranger (Hardcover)
It's the first time I have read a book by this author.It was brilliant.very moving, but with humour.Taking you through the trauma of someone losing his mind.So well written,I couldn't put it down.Lovely book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, 20 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Beloved Stranger (Paperback)
This is the first book I have read by Claire Boylan. She writes so descriptively. In the American edition, Dick's wife is Lily, not Eunace. It is sad and funny at times with the horrors of a man's descent into insanity graphically portrayed. Each character in the book becomes alive with the clever writing of the author.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant work., 5 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Beloved Stranger (Paperback)
It's all about the institute of marriage. The dynamic of relationships within this family is wonderfully crafted. A really enjoyable read. I would wholeheartedly recommend this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars ... after a decent interval the house would get another wife..., 31 Oct 2011
By 
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beloved Stranger (Paperback)
I found it hard to read because some of the horrors of the marriage described - although quite comic in the beginning - quickly became deeply depressing. This fifty year-old relationship has taken place in a household where the old conventionalities have always applied. Coming across the books of her daughter, Ruth, and reading some of them have only confirmed Lily in her views. Feminism is fine for Ruth, but it doesn't apply to her because she loves her husband. This is a simplification of some of the sentiments she, at times, seems to abide by, but it really doesn't describe the kind of relationship she has with her husband. It seems he has always been a bit erratic. In their early marriage he was passionate and demanding, but Lily doesn't think much of sex, which suggests, maybe a lack of skill on his part. Nevertheless, Lily loves her husband Dick and he loves her. There seems to have been rather a lack of love left over for their daughter. Pa always ruled the roost, and had an old-fashioned idea of women's place, even though Ruth becomes an Architect with a good job, he dismisses her as `just' a woman.

It would be easy to hate Dick when he loses control; his frequent violent attacks on furniture, china and glassware, for instance, and especially when he insists there is an intruder under their bed and gets out a shotgun, but this book is written with such deep understanding of mental illness that one cannot make easy decisions about what he does and does not do. It's an extraordinary book that never leaves the consciousness of one or other of the characters, yet never comes down in judgement. Thus we see the three main characters in their fine complexity of thought and action, even when such action, as in the case of Dick, is frightening and abhorrent. He is hospitalised, but longs to return home - this book makes you feel for all the participants in this terrible drama. Above all it makes you see the toll mental illness takes on those suffering it.

This is a brave and honest book, but it is depressing. It shows what may be in the future for any of us.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars thoughtful portrayal of marriage and mental illness, 2 Jan 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Beloved Stranger (Hardcover)
I loved this book. Within a couple of chapters, I was hooked and I knew Dick and Lily and suffered with them as their problems were laid bare. I read it within a day and was sorry to take leave of them when I finished the book. There was a lot to think about in terms of what is marriage and the meaning of love as well. I look forward to exploring other books by Clare Boylan
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Beloved Stranger
Beloved Stranger by Clare Boylan (Paperback - 1 Jun 2000)
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