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5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful writer
Madden writes about complex relationships with great delicacy of touch but in full colour and always seeing the humour - as well as the tragedy - in the tangled webs human beings weave.
Published 14 months ago by R C Stockland

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3.0 out of 5 stars An Anatomy of Melancholy
A bleak tale of life in rural Ireland over two generations. Jane, orphaned as a small child, is unable to feel love, and views others with suspicion. She marries and has children young, but is unable to be happy with her husband. Her depression, mingled with a fair degree of spite, leaves a terrible legacy for her husband and children. Madden alternates between the story...
Published on 22 Nov 2011 by Kate Hopkins


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Anatomy of Melancholy, 22 Nov 2011
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Kate Hopkins (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Birds of the Innocent Wood (Paperback)
A bleak tale of life in rural Ireland over two generations. Jane, orphaned as a small child, is unable to feel love, and views others with suspicion. She marries and has children young, but is unable to be happy with her husband. Her depression, mingled with a fair degree of spite, leaves a terrible legacy for her husband and children. Madden alternates between the story of Jane's life and the story of Sarah and Catherine, Jane's daughters, and their lives after Jane's death. Both girls are clearly damaged by their childhoods: Sarah is frustrated and bitter, using her bitterness to hurt her sister and their neighbour Peter (child of James's old friend Ellen, and in love with Sarah); Catherine, who longs to be a nun, is a depressive with a terrible memory, unable to relate much to others. Uneasy with each other, both sisters manage to unearth terrible secrets about their family, which add to their distress. While Madden's descriptions of the farm where the girls live and of the neighbouring countryside are beautiful, the bleakness of the stories of both Jane and the two sisters make some of the book almost unbearably painful to read. Nor, really, is there much of a sense of resolution at the end of the book, apart from in an uneasy truce between the sisters. This is a tragedy with no catharsis.

Madden's most depressing novel by a long way - the grimness of the story makes your average Thomas Hardy novel seem fairly light and cheerful!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful writer, 6 Aug 2013
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This review is from: The Birds of the Innocent Wood (Paperback)
Madden writes about complex relationships with great delicacy of touch but in full colour and always seeing the humour - as well as the tragedy - in the tangled webs human beings weave.
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5.0 out of 5 stars MADDEN, 10 Sep 2014
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This review is from: The Birds of the Innocent Wood (Paperback)
GOOD STORY
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The Birds of the Innocent Wood
The Birds of the Innocent Wood by Deirdre Madden (Paperback - 18 Mar 2004)
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