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Posts Tagged ‘ Love ’

James Blunt Beams Into Dublin

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Dual blogged on I’m Talkin Here

James Blunt. Two words that can cause so much division, usually followed by vitriol, and few can justifiably explain why. Nobody was more sick of hearing the constant refrain of “… you’re beautiful…” across airwaves in the last ten years than the man himself and sadly most people missed the fact that he is an exceptional talent in the meantime. On Thursday night he reminded a near full 3Arena just how good he is. Continue reading

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Book Review: Pandemonium (Delirium #2)

paFollowing the devastating cliffhanger at the end of Delirium, Lauren Oliver returns with the eagerly anticipated sequel Pandemonium which surges the story forward and shows two polarized worlds on the brink of revolution.

This books switches between “Then” and “Now” conveying Lena’s story after she escaped past the barrier and into The Wilds at the end of Delirium.

The “Then” chapters focus on Lena’s arrival in The Wilds, where she is nurtured back to health by Raven and her group of Invalids – that is, those that are “uncured” or infected by the disease of love – and forced to reach deep within herself and call upon her inner survivalist in order to stay alive. The Wilds are wholly different to the world she once knew and she struggles on a daily basis with the thoughts of never seeing her family, her best friend Hana, or her lover Alex again. But to keep her momentum and hope alive, she settles on the fact that this is what she and Alex wanted: freedom; the option to make her own decisions and decide her own path. However, she soon comes to realize that her ideal of freedom is much more warped than she ever could imagine and life in The Wilds is not as perfect as she once thought it to be. Continue reading

Book Review: Delirium

Though the number of dystopian novels is on the rise, Lauren Oliver’s Delirium breaks through the mould and redefines itself as a love story first and foremost set to a dystopian background. The world in which Delirium is set plays its formidable part in the story but underneath that world lays burning questions about love and how it is perceived in the real world, away from fiction.

‘It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected the cure’ is the opening line of this book and immediately thrusts us into the world of Delirium. To the people of this world, love – or amor deliria nervosa as it is known – is something that needs to be eradicated. It is a danger that causes chaos, instability and ultimately, death. Continue reading

Anne Enright’s “The Forgotten Waltz”

Anne Enright’s novel The Forgotten Waltz was published in 2011 and traces the life of Gina Moynihan from mid-Celtic Tiger Ireland to a recession era. Upon her return from Australia, Gina attends her sister Fiona’s housewarming party at her beach view home in Enniskerry, a symbol of the roaring Celtic Tiger of the time. The scene of the party outlines Enright’s satirical views of this time; the house itself, the people, the children multiplying as if being cloned, the “chardonnay years”, as Gina describes them. This suburbanite dream leaves Gina feeling claustrophobic and she retires to the lower garden to have a cigarette as, “It is 2002, and already, none of these people smoke”. It is from this lower part of the garden that Gina sees her future lover, Sean. They will not meet again until Gina is married to Conor with whom she owns a townhouse in Dublin City, perhaps an effort to shy away from the suburban dream that Fiona relishes so much in Enniskerry. As the narrative is in past tense it is evident that Gina’s memories of seeing Sean are now clouded by the love and resentment she feels for him; she remembers a thoughtful looking man, a pretty wife with him and a faceless child of four years old, Evie. Because the narrative is past tense it is evident that Gina’s emotions and feelings have been compromised as she describes people she once loved and cherished with a sort of resentment and bitterness as her relationship with Sean now lies stale, dead and inescapable. Gina leaves her husband Conor, who is tall, broad, tanned and fun-loving for Sean; quiet and small but evidently cripplingly charming, seen from Gina’s perspective as well as the numerous affairs Gina assumes he has had before her. As they embark on their affair Gina leaves Conor with a bleak perspective on the life they had once shared together, believing she was with him, bought a house and married him simply because she felt that was what you should do. Gina moves into her late mother’s home in Terenure where Sean, after eventually leaving his wife and his suburban home, comes to live with her. His dissatisfaction at his life post-recession is evident and very much a part of the downfall of their relationship.

The focus of the story lies very much in Gina’s thoughts on Sean’s daughter, Evie. Evie is very carefully and ambiguously constructed by Enright, it is not clear what, if anything is wrong with the girl. It is clear that following a fall from a swing when she was four Evie developed seizures and underwent much medical attention at the behest of her mother, Aileen. But it is also clear that Evie’s issues run deeper than this for Gina; Evie is both the opening and the closing of the novel as Gina struggles to understand the girl and tries to get to grips with the extent to which her own actions have affected Evie. It is clear that Gina believes it is more than the fall off a swing that has affected Evie’s behaviour and development. Gina finds Evie “peculiar” and also harbours an irrational resentment towards the girl because she feels the affair would not have gone so far had it not been for Evie’s presence in their lives from the very beginning. When Sean and Gina share their first kiss at a party in his family home, they are seen by Evie who fails to understand what she has seen. Gina’s guilt of having done this to a child runs deep. For Gina, a character normally cold and out of touch with her emotions in the book it is clear that jeopardizing a child’s innocence means that you must follow through with your actions – live with life’s consequences. Time passes and Gina and Sean’s love and lust both wither to be left with routine, reality and lonely days for Gina as Sean spends family time in Enniskerry. It is evident that their affair cannot stand to the recession in Irish life, but it must not be abandoned because of Evie.

Gina is a wholly unlikeable character, her lack of emotion for her sister or Conor throughout the novel is striking and her attraction to Sean even when their love has dissolved is irksome and perplexing. Though it is evident Sean is meant to be charming and attractive, in contrast to Conor he is somewhat snake-like; small and suited up, cunning and, similarly to Gina, emotionally absent. However Sean also harbours his own pain over Evie; not being able to help and heal his young daughter and then subsequently destroying her stable and perfect suburban life has brought upon him similar feelings of guilt that Gina has and they cannot abandon each other because Evie has already suffered enough.

Another aspect to the novel that I found to be striking and poignant was Enright’s contrast of post-Celtic Tiger era of Ireland to the mid-Celtic Tiger and then reverting back again. I will explain. As I have mentioned before Enright’s take on Celtic Tiger life is satirical, she mentions it all; the wine consumption, never seen in Ireland as much before, the mobile homes in Brittas Bay, the work weekends away, the children who cry at the sight of the electrician’s cigarette because they have never been exposed to the sight of one before. Enright takes all of these elements and subtly contrasts it to Ireland in the 1970/80s when Fiona and Gina were growing up in Terenure. Gina remembers her childhood with fondness, even the bad parts. For her, the new Irish society is futile; the wine, the suits, the business lunches and dinner events are empty to her as she sits in her old family home alone on Christmas Day, ostracised from the suburbanite dream of her sister and Sean in Enniskerry.

Overall, the novel is a grim reality of an affair in a new and exciting time for professionals in Ireland. There is no happy ending with Sean, no passionate reunion with Conor, no new life started somewhere new and exciting and no breakthrough understanding with Evie. Even as Evie stands before her as a teenager in the closing of the book, Gina still cannot quite get her, “I can’t quite see her face”, Evie remains to her a mystery that she must live with. Gina is left with the reality of being stuck with Sean, stuck with Evie, stuck in her family home in Dublin, looking back on her marriage in fear of realising there was love there after all and a fear of admitting her mistake. Gina is a hard character;tough, unbreakable and eerily calm in the face of her life choices.

Write What You Know But What Do You Know?

I once read what I thought was a very profound quote, but was probably just what all aspiring journalists should read before they begin to write. It went something like this:

“They say…write what you know”

Well, I have two very important questions to ask. The first being, who the hell are “THEY”, and secondly, what the hell do I actually know? (This is probably the more worrying question of the two). At the age of 22, I’m finished college and I’m currently doing an internship in a music magazine called Hot Press. Right now, I only know about three things.
1. I have no money
2. I have no job, and
3. My future prospects are getting hazier with each passing day.
I have moved home from my snug city apartment and have succumbed to living the life of the recent graduate of 2012, whose motto is – “ let’s just blame the recession for everything!”
Another thing I know, is that I have always loved to write. Mainly to make myself laugh, or cheer myself up. It’s like playing a depressing Chopin Nocturne when you’re upset. After you’ve played it, you feel better. I don’t know why, it just works!
To try and cheer myself up on the mindless train journeys to and from Dublin everyday, I read. As most people who read know, it makes the time go so much faster, as you’re engrossed in someone else’s story for a while, instead of squished up against the condensed window of the black packed train.
So last week I bought George Orwell’s “Down and Out in Paris and London”. Mainly because I thought it would make me look sophisticated, hip, and a little intelligent (my next purchase is the MacBook), but I also got it because I thought the story would encourage me. I mean, if Orwell could move to Paris, sell all of his belongings for 70p, live the poverty stricken life and STILL become a famous journalist, then I could at least move home, commute to Dublin and write a few music articles for a while, couldn’t I?
One Monday evening, as I was trying to bury myself into the novel on the busy train- with a man so close to me I could feel him breathing down my neck, I began listening to a conversation between two cork girls. They were about my age and very out spoken, to put it kindly. I wasn’t being nosy really. I was just attempting to distract myself from my perfect life as an up and coming journalist. Funnily enough it worked. The topic of discussion was indeed, men. New men.
What is a more entertaining topic of conversation than two women talking about their newly found relationships. In fact, probably one of the best feelings in the world is the feeling (or maybe the facade) of a new relationship! When women pretend not to be insane, and men don’t drive them insane. We are all such cunning creatures really, when you think about it.
I think my favourite thing about new relationships, apart from the constant sex, is the constant gossiping about the sex. And of course the discussion in minute detail, of every miniscule particle of your growing relationship. “I feel we are so much closer this week than we were last week”, “ He told me he loved me!!! I mean, I asked him first, but then he told me”, “He text me, then I text him, then he text me and now I’m going to wait four and a half minutes to reply.” It’s true. I mean, you do have to play hard-to-get in the beginning.
As an honest 22 year old woman, if you are a man reading this and your girlfriend is telling you she doesn’t talk to her friends about your relationship, well then she’s a lovely lovely girl. And she’s a liar. Dump her.
So anyway, as I was listening to the conversation, it made me realise something. Instead of a Mac book, my next purchase is going be a very good set of head phones.
The conversation went something like this:
Girl 1: I was out on Saturday night with the girls and the next morning I was so hungover and feeling extremely needy. So I drove down to Galway from Dublin and picked him up, and then drove us back to Dublin. Do you think that’s clingy? I’m worried he’ll think I’m clingy and I really don’t want to seem clingy!
Girl 2: NOOOOOOO not at all!!! You’re not clingy! I would do the EXACT SAME THING in your position.
Girl 1: He’s still here today and like, I want to ask him to stay another night but I don’t want to look too needy.
Girl2: Oh no you won’t. I mean you know the way it is. Girls always want them to stay and they always want to leave. How long are you together now hunny?
Girl 1: Oh a month and a half.

The conversation went on for a while longer and when the train finally reached its destination instead of jumping under it I decided I should take this all as a learning experience. I mean after all, life is an experience. I am learning every day, and I MUST write what I know.
So now as a writer and a journalist I feel know three more things:
1. Always listen to peoples’ conversations on trains.
2. Never ask advice from women in love.
3. Relationships are scary, but make for entertaining writing.
So in essence, perhaps after I finish becoming the next George Orwell or Tom Wolfe, I can strive to become the new and improved Carry Bradshaw.

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