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.


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.

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