Cover of Miss Emily
Rated 3.55
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Miss Emily

By: Nuala O'Connor

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Imprint: G.P. Putnam's Sons

Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780143126751

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On Sale: | Pages: 256

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The American debut of an award-winning Irish writer that brings to life Emily Dickinson and will enthrall fans of Longbourn and Mrs. Poe Nuala OConnors enchanting American debut novel, Miss Emily, reimagines the private life of Emily Dickinson, one of Americas most beloved poets, through her own voice and through the eyes of her familys Irish maid. Eighteen-year-old Ada Concannon has just been hired by the respected but eccentric Dickinson family of Amherst, Massachusetts. Despite their difference in age and the upstairs-downstairs divide, Ada strikes up a deep friendship with Miss Emily, the gifted elder daughter living a spinsters life at home. But Emilys passion for words begins to dominate her life. She will wear only white and avoids the world outside the Dickinson homestead. When Adas safety and reputation are threatened, however, Emily must face down her own demons in order to help her friend, with shocking consequences.
MISS EMILY, the newest novel from Irish writer Nuala O'Connor, has the ability to capture the attentions of readers of historical fiction, biography and poetry alike.... Despite the daunting task of writing a novel not only about the poet but that is written partially in her own point of view, O'Connor beautifully reanimates the character of Emily Dickinson, both Person and Poet.... What makes MISS EMILY truly stand out is O'Connor's meticulous prose. Every paragraph and sentence, down to each individual word, is purposefully and artfully positioned within the text as a whole.... The historicity of the story...while integral to understanding the context of the time, is less significant than the confidence with which O'Connor adopts and makes believable Dickinson's words, crafting every turn of phrase just so until O'Connor as author disappears, and her voice, almost magically, is replaced by that of the long-dead poet. For that reason alone, although there are countless others, MISS EMILY deserves to be read at least once, but probably twice.
Nuala O'Connor's lovely novel, “Miss Emily,” immerses us in the day-to-day drama of a fictional, spirited Irish maid who comes to work for the Dickinsons of Amherst in 1866 and stirs up their reclusive poet-in-residence. Told in alternating chapters by the title character and her maid, it pulls us in from its first limpid lines and then detonates with an explosion of power — much like Emily Dickinson's poems..... Despite its somewhat predictable narrative arc, the novel captivates with its high emotions and rich images, many of which, like “a sugared Amherst,” carry echoes of Dickinson's poems and letters.
—Washington Post
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