Palimpsest  

Go Back   Palimpsest > Palimpsest Groups > The Book Group Discussions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 6th Jan 2008, 9:45   #21
Ang
Senior Palimpsester
suckles at the teat of the Palim-God
 
Ang's Avatar
 
Join Date: 25 Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 3,198
Default Re: Book 39: I AM MARY DUNNE by Brian Moore

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colyngbourne View Post
I had some of the same difficulty with the character as Oryx but I didn't totally despair of her. Her repeated questionings of "who she was" didn't cut any ice with me, and the title seemed an absolute blank - is that the intention? After all, we see least of all of Mary Dunne prior to any of her marriages, so the reader doesn't have any particular frame of reference to understand when Mary is asserting this identity as the 'base' to all the other wallpaperings that have been hung on top. Who is "Mary Dunne"? She's nothing, because all we know of her is through the filtration of her various relationships and her supposed guilt and despising herself.
Perhaps the point is that she is Mary Dunne, has always been Mary Dunne, regardless of the nominal label that she takes from her various husbands. She, like so many women, had been defining herself as "the wife of X" rather than Mary Dunne. Perhaps this "crisis point" came about because of Terence's popularity and how people view her as Mrs T Lavery, just wanting information about him once they figure out who she's married to. This must be difficult and alarming for someone as beautiful as Mary.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colyngbourne View Post
Except I don't think she does. For all her self-doubt (and moments of true confusion and fear) I never got the sense that she truly felt the blame for anything going wrong in her relationships (although others clearly had crystal-clear faults that contributed to the doom of these). Her weakness was spotlighted (spotlit?) in the last scenes with Truelove - her sheer inability to stand against his statements, rather than letting them define her. And I felt very sorry for Terence.
It's pretty hard for Mary to stand against his statements since he was describing a night when she was drunk and can't remember any of it. I thought Truelove was manipulative and childish. Why should Mary respond to that? Best to ignore people like that. She became interested when she thought he had information about Hat, whose death is unresolved. Truelove certainly wanted her to think it was her fault, but his view is twisted to say the least.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colyngbourne View Post
I do think she would hold together and showed enough self-will to begin to creep back from the edge of despair, but that's partly due to Terence and her security in him: not a bad thing.
I would say there's a level of insecurity with Terence. I think he truly loves her, but she thinks he might commit her to an asylum. I wouldn't call that security, but perhaps it relates to what Beth mentioned about the era of analysis - were there a lot of women being labeled crazy during that time?
__________________
2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008=post 80611
Ang is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th Jan 2008, 11:25   #22
Ang
Senior Palimpsester
suckles at the teat of the Palim-God
 
Ang's Avatar
 
Join Date: 25 Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 3,198
Default Re: Book 39: I AM MARY DUNNE by Brian Moore

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ang View Post
I would say there's a level of insecurity with Terence. I think he truly loves her, but she thinks he might commit her to an asylum. I wouldn't call that security, but perhaps it relates to what Beth mentioned about the era of analysis - were there a lot of women being labeled crazy during that time?
Thinking about it, rather than the "era of analysis", I should have said the "analysis of the era". Going by The Golden Notebook, Freudian psychology seemed to be the thing during that time. Now we know that Freud was highly chauvinistic (penis envy? I think not.) Freud may be labeled the Father of Psychology, but there were certainly others in the forefront who make a lot more sense.

I would like to explore more why Mary thinks her thoughts could land her in an asylum...
__________________
2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008=post 80611
Ang is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th Jan 2008, 15:47   #23
Beth
Senior Palimpsester
suckles at the teat of the Palim-God
 
Beth's Avatar
 
Join Date: 22 Sep 2006
Location: Illinois
Posts: 2,854
Default Re: Book 39: I AM MARY DUNNE by Brian Moore

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ang View Post
I would like to explore more why Mary thinks her thoughts could land her in an asylum...
I thought she seemed so shaky and distraught that she was afraid her lapse of memory could snowball into a break from reality. She was really trying hard, especially at the end, to hold on to her earliest notion of identity. In thinking about this story, I've wondered if he was trying to say something about the experience of beautiful, rudderless women. And the labels that we so easily place on pretty faces and bodies. It's always been done, hasn't it? But modern life demands so much moore . I found Mary very similar to Judith Hearne in level of desperation. Though they were at different ends of the looks scale, they both were seeking a toehold that is just beyond grasp. Though Mary, benefitting as she does from attractiveness and her husband's concern, may do better.

Moore just instinctively has a bead on that core of doubt that most women experience, well maybe excepting those who are just fabulously strong and lucky. Those little pestering thoughts that sometimes goad us with "You're not pretty, sexy, smart, savvy, disinterested, -on and on ad nauseum- enough to be valued by others." And he uses extreme figures such as Mary and Judith to portray this.

I'd love to hear at some point from JS about what Moore's biographer says about Mary Dunne. Also, Paradox, m., what do you think? Ono also makes some good points here, too.
Beth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th Jan 2008, 15:57   #24
John Self
Administrator
suffers from smallness of vision
 
John Self's Avatar
 
Join Date: 27 Jun 2003
Location: Belfast
Posts: 15,939
Default Re: Book 39: I AM MARY DUNNE by Brian Moore

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beth
I'd love to hear at some point from JS about what Moore's biographer says about Mary Dunne.
Surprisingly little, particularly given how much the first five books get. As I've mentioned before I tend to scuttle off to the biog whenever I finish one of the books, to find out all about the writing, publication, reception etc and there just wasn't much for Mary Dunne. Either she thinks it a minor work or he did.

What did everyone think about the 'authenticity' of Mary's voice as a woman? This is the first time Moore had actually written as a woman - as opposed to a third person narrative from a woman's POV - and I'd be interested to see if female readers in particular felt convinced.

Of course there's no reason why a woman should be more attuned to what a woman character should sound like - she's a person, isn't she, first? - but it nonetheless niggles at me.
__________________
Reading Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate | Asylum | Book List
John Self is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th Jan 2008, 16:11   #25
Ang
Senior Palimpsester
suckles at the teat of the Palim-God
 
Ang's Avatar
 
Join Date: 25 Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 3,198
Default Re: Book 39: I AM MARY DUNNE by Brian Moore

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Self View Post
What did everyone think about the 'authenticity' of Mary's voice as a woman? This is the first time Moore had actually written as a woman - as opposed to a third person narrative from a woman's POV - and I'd be interested to see if female readers in particular felt convinced.
Other than putting it down to PMT, I thought she was entirely authentic. I'd prefer that he'd left that out - it's in the beginning and the end, and I'd like to know whether he really thought that could be all that was bothering her. I guess we'll never know, but that you (JS) thought it was just an excuse he gives her helps a lot.
__________________
2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008=post 80611
Ang is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th Jan 2008, 16:15   #26
Beth
Senior Palimpsester
suckles at the teat of the Palim-God
 
Beth's Avatar
 
Join Date: 22 Sep 2006
Location: Illinois
Posts: 2,854
Default Re: Book 39: I AM MARY DUNNE by Brian Moore

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Self View Post
What did everyone think about the 'authenticity' of Mary's voice as a woman? This is the first time Moore had actually written as a woman -
I thought he did a pitch perfect job. Her narrative voice seemed true and especially true for a young person. Even more so for a young woman in the midst of an identity crisis. Though this particular crisis would be particular to women with marital name changing, I think the depth created would serve any character. I can't recall at the moment if Ginger Coffey or Lupercal or The Emperor of Ice Cream have been mentioned as being first person. Maybe Emperor?
Beth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th Jan 2008, 16:25   #27
Beth
Senior Palimpsester
suckles at the teat of the Palim-God
 
Beth's Avatar
 
Join Date: 22 Sep 2006
Location: Illinois
Posts: 2,854
Default Re: Book 39: I AM MARY DUNNE by Brian Moore

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ang View Post
Freud may be labeled the Father of Psychology, but there were certainly others in the forefront who make a lot more sense.
Had to laugh here. In four yrs of nursing school, two of which were very heavily weighted with psychology studies, Freud got about five minutes. He's pretty roundly disregarded and I love that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ang View Post
Other than putting it down to PMT, I thought she was entirely authentic. I'd prefer that he'd left that out - it's in the beginning and the end, and I'd like to know whether he really thought that could be all that was bothering her. I guess we'll never know, but that you (JS) thought it was just an excuse he gives her helps a lot.
I think it's just an attempt at rationalization also, Ang. She could have attributed her state to lots of things, but maybe this was just fashionable then?
Beth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th Jan 2008, 17:04   #28
John Self
Administrator
suffers from smallness of vision
 
John Self's Avatar
 
Join Date: 27 Jun 2003
Location: Belfast
Posts: 15,939
Default Re: Book 39: I AM MARY DUNNE by Brian Moore

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beth
I can't recall at the moment if Ginger Coffey or Lupercal or The Emperor of Ice Cream have been mentioned as being first person. Maybe Emperor?
No. This was his first first-person narrative. I'm trying to recall now if he did it in any later books: not in any of the ones I've read, I don't think, but maybe in one of the mid-period 'odd' novels I haven't read like The Great Victorian Collection, The Mangan Inheritance or Cold Heaven.
__________________
Reading Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate | Asylum | Book List
John Self is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th Jan 2008, 21:08   #29
Colyngbourne
Administrator
is beyond help
 
Colyngbourne's Avatar
 
Join Date: 30 Apr 2003
Location: England
Posts: 10,735
Default Re: Book 39: I AM MARY DUNNE by Brian Moore

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beth View Post
Though this particular crisis would be particular to women with marital name changing, I think the depth created would serve any character.
I think this is where I can maybe understand, because she was still very young, having changed her name several times, and not really feeling to be any of them. But I never got a sense of who the Mary Dunne underneath was. As someone who has been married with their husband's surname for nearly 19 years, who I feel like is not Col X----, nor Col Maiden-name either, but just Col.

The crisis was precipitated by that particular thing, and with the PMT reason given, but it seemed to be brewing anyway.
__________________
Currently reading: The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins | My reading list | My film list
Colyngbourne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th Jan 2008, 8:25   #30
Ang
Senior Palimpsester
suckles at the teat of the Palim-God
 
Ang's Avatar
 
Join Date: 25 Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 3,198
Default Re: Book 39: I AM MARY DUNNE by Brian Moore

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colyngbourne View Post
The crisis was precipitated by that particular thing, and with the PMT reason given, but it seemed to be brewing anyway.
Very true, I'd say... I think she was worried whether she caused Hat's death and various things that day made her think of that. Probably way too many to be a coincidence, at least in her mind.
__________________
2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008=post 80611
Ang is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Book 32: THE LONELY PASSION OF JUDITH HEARNE by Brian Moore John Self The Book Group Discussions 68 11th Mar 2011 11:09
Brian Moore John Self Book Reviews 187 24th Sep 2010 2:20
Book Groups Wavid General Chat 43 13th Apr 2010 23:43
An intimate history of how a book that you are reading joins the list of the stalled. Flutty General Chat 9 31st Aug 2007 15:08


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 13:26.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.