Molly Fox's Birthday by Deirdre Madden

Molly Fox's Birthday

Deirdre Madden

I felt I was central to this story about a playwright contemplating her life because she made me her confidante. With a domestic plot and sparse characters, this was an unusual book, with an underlying tension, sometimes sinister running through it. At times, it was confusing because one small incident would lead the mysterious narrator through a myriad of interconnecting memories, but ultimately this was a thoughtful and enjoyable read.

Extract

I stepped out into the heat, into a great sweetness, a complex of fragrances: cut grass from someone’s lawn, and lavender, robust, overlain with the peculiarly fragile scent of sweet pea. As I walked away from the house I wondered at the facility some people have for creating a home for themselves. Molly can do it, Andrew too, but it has always eluded me. The places I have lived in have remained only that: places I have lived in; rooms full of places and books. I should like a proper home not just for my own sake but because it would be an extension of me, and would allow me to communicate something of myself to others. But how people managed to do this with the things I glimpsed in the houses I passed – candles, rugs, bentwood chairs, dressers and lamps – baffled and defeated me.

Parallels
  • Unless by Carol Shields
  • Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller
  • Elizabeth Costello by J M Coetzee

Books with similar mood

Night Waking

Sarah Moss

Crow Lake

Mary Lawson

The Book of Israel

Jeremy Gavron

The Hero's Walk

Anita Badami

The Forms of Water

Andrea Barrett

The Cookbook Collector

Allegra Goodman

Winter Under Water

James Hopkin

Old People are a Problem

Emyr Humphreys

Fifty Days

Sarah Quigley

The Main Cages

Philip Marsden

Eva Moves the Furniture

Margot Livesey

Triangulation

Phil Whitaker

Big Fish: a Novel of Mythic Proportions

Daniel Wallace

In Defence of Adultery

Julia Copus

The Beekeeper's Pupil

Sara George

A Rhinestone Button

Gail Anderson-Dargatz

The Flight of the Maidens

Jane Gardam

Bee Season

Myla Goldberg

Death in Pont-Aven

Jean-Luc Bannalec

The Sky is Changing

Zoe Jenny

In the Falling Snow

Caryl Phillips

Pollard

Laura Beatty

Three of a Kind

Alison Norrington

Ancient Promises

Jaishree Misra

The Seeing Stone

Kevin Crossley-Holland

Empire Falls

Richard Russo

Some Prefer Nettles

Junichiro Tanizaki

The Dinner Guest

Gabriela Ybarra

The Lowland

Jhumpa Lahiri

The Good Psychologist

Noam Shpancer

Zoology

Ben Dolnick

Small Crimes in an Age of Abundance

Matthew Kneale

Life Mask

Emma Donoghue

The Promise of Happiness

Justin Cartwright

The Snack Thief

Andrea Camilleri

A Crying Shame

Renate Dorrestein

Off Keck Road

Mona Simpson

After Rain

William Trevor

A Kind of Freedom

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

Let Me Tell You About a Man I Knew

Susan Fletcher

The Twisted Heart

Rebecca Gowers

The India House

William Palmer

The Cairo House

Samia Serageldin

Girls in Trouble

Caroline Leavitt

Reshape Whilst Damp: Prize-winning Stories by Women

Carole Buchan

The Unknown Errors of our Lives

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Hey Yeah Right Get a Life

Helen Simpson

Revenge of the Middle-aged Woman

Elizabeth Buchan

Gap Creek

Robert Morgan