Friday, April 18, 2008
She's one of those writers that causes extreme divides among people. You either hate her or love her. I'm the latter. I've devoured everything she's ever written in books and read as many of her columns in the Irish Times as I could get my hands on. I love her style, her intelligence and her heart-breaking honesty.
This was the first book I read of hers:
I loved her honest and heart-wrenching recounting of her sad family history, her well known father who always maintained a mistress, the abandoned alcoholic mother besieged by far too many children
Then I read:
This continued her life into the present times, the dismayed reaction of her family to the truth of her book, the death of two of her brothers from alcoholism and her own discovery of love through a successful online romance with a New Yorker.
Next was this, her first novel:
This followed a favourite theme of my own, a back story and a front story, well written and unputdownable.
Then she tried an experimental book:
This traced the true story of an Irish girl who emigrated to Chicago, intercut and interpersed with her own reflections on what she was writing and the research she had to do. Not to everyone's taste but I really liked it.
And then I hear Marion Finucane of RTE interview her on her Saturday Flesh and Blood series. And it turns out that Nuala has very little time to live, her newly diagnosed cancer has mestastisized from her lungs to her brain and liver. She speaks openly and freely of her cancer, her anger, her sense of being ripped off, her non-belief in an afterlife, her loss of music, reading, and most of all the loss of her joy in nature. She speaks of how utterly alone the process of dying is, no matter who is around you. She spares nothing and cries openly along with Marian.
It is profound, it is shattering, it touched the deepest part of my soul. I wept. For all of us frail humans. For the death that waits around the corner with our ticket out of here clutched in its skeletal fingers. For this incredible, exquisite life with all its joy and pain. For how truly and magnificently precious every moment of it all is.