The Light of Evening
by Edna O'Brien
With THE LIGHT OF EVENING Edna O'Brien returns to the world of her first novel, rural Ireland and the relationship between mother and daughter. ... Show synopsis With THE LIGHT OF EVENING Edna O'Brien returns to the world of her first novel, rural Ireland and the relationship between mother and daughter. Whereas her first novel THE COUNTRY GIRLS was, as she once said, ' a simple little tale of two girls who were trying to burst out of their gym frocks and their convent, and their own lives in their own houses, to make it to the big city', in THE LIGHT OF THE EVENING the mother is dying, her daughter, a writer, is in the aftermath of a rotten marriage. The novel reflects their lives and their relationship down the years. When we meet the mother, now in her seventies, she is seeing her doctor. She knows she is seriously unwell. Ovarian cancer is diagnosed. First the mother tries a faith-healer, but eventually accepts the inevitable and hospitalisation. There she recalls her life: going to America (through Ellis Island), becoming a servant. Back in Ireland she marries. Her husband loves training horses; a son becomes involved with the IRA and dies. The daughter is sophisticated, she leaves Ireland, marries an older man, starts reading for a publisher, then writing, has children. To her mother in Ireland she sends gifts. As her mother lies dying she returns. The author's understanding of the mother-daughter relationship makes the appeal of this novel universal.