Read I Am Mary Dunne by Brian Moore Online


A beautitul woman in her early thirties, Mary Lavery, nee Dunne lives in New York and is happily married to a much feted British playing playwright. But before this there have been other lives, two previous husbands, and a Catholic girlhood filled with suppressed passion. A brief encounter with an old friend brings back a sudden flood of memories from the past - memories wA beautitul woman in her early thirties, Mary Lavery, nee Dunne lives in New York and is happily married to a much feted British playing playwright. But before this there have been other lives, two previous husbands, and a Catholic girlhood filled with suppressed passion. A brief encounter with an old friend brings back a sudden flood of memories from the past - memories which confuse and disturb... Female desire and sexuality, and the elusive nature of identity are brilliantly explored in this novel which glimmers with insight and truth....

Title : I Am Mary Dunne
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780006548355
Format Type : ePub
Number of Pages : 300 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

I Am Mary Dunne Reviews

  • Bettie☯
    2019-03-12 13:20

    (view spoiler)[ Bettie's BooksThe rating, any status updates, and those bookshelves, indicate my feelings for this book. (hide spoiler)]

  • Tanja Berg
    2019-03-10 13:25

    I read this book when I was very young, either teen or early twenties. I found Mary's identity problems because of the different last names she had had infantile and her PMS problems contrived. Clearly the author was a male. It's impressive that I remember being annoyed after almost 20 years. This book portrayed a woman that was everything I did not want to be. And after several husbands I can with confidence say I never had any identity issues for that reason. My last name does not define me. It shouldn't have done so for you either, Mary Dunne.

  • Allan
    2019-02-26 19:30

    Probably more of a 3.5 star than 3 star for me. This is the fifth or sixth novel of Moore's that I've read, but the first that isn't set in N Ireland. Published in 1968, the book is a first person narrative told by Mary Lavery, a 32 year old Canadian living in New York with her third husband Terence, a successful British playwright. While the 'present' consists of a single day, during which Mary constantly refers to her 'evil twin' (PMT issues), a series of encounters-a hairdressing appointment, a lecherous encounter with a stranger in the street, lunch with an 'old friend' and a disastrous dinner with a friend of her second husband, force her to retell the stories of her past marriages and confront the demons associated with them.Moore is known for his empathetic portrayal of female characters, and this one is another that he has been praised for creating; my problem was that I just didn't warm to her. She is possibly on the verge of a breakdown, but as she looks back upon her life, I had little sympathy for her because of the way she had treated some of her ex partners. And as was the case in The Doctor's Wife, I felt a little uncomfortable when reading the pretty graphic sex scenes.All in all, a novel that, while critically acclaimed, didn't stand out for me in comparison to the others of his that I've read.

  • Jonathan
    2019-03-07 12:31

    I am Mary Dunne covers a single day in the life of Mary Lavery, née Dunne, ex-Mary Bell, ex-Mary Phelan. She's currently married to her third husband but can't help remembering events from the past even though she has trouble with her memory. Brian Moore is a new favourite author of mine but I was a little wary of this one at the beginning as he adopts a first-person narrative where we are dropped straight in to the confusion that is Mary's life; but Moore handles it really well and although it takes a little while to work out which husband is which and who all the other people are in Mary's life Moore slowly reveals the details so that we can begin to make sense of her life. Within the first few pages of the book Mary recounts her morning visit to a beauty salon where the receptionist forgot Mary's name but when she asked Mary for it Mary's mind went blank until she gave her name as Mrs Phelan, her name from her first marriage. Then upon leaving the salon she was stopped in the street by a smiling man, a stranger, who said 'I'd like to fuck you, baby' and then walked off leaving Mary stunned then angry. It's not a great start to the day. Mary is currently living in New York but she's originally from Montreal, Canada. Her current husband is Terence Lavery, a British playwright, and as the novel unfolds it seems that she's finally settled on a man whom she truly loves and who loves her. But she always feels that she's playing a part; with each husband she has had to act differently.I play an ingénue role, with special shadings demanded by each suitor. For Jimmy I had to be a tomboy; for Hat, I must look like a model; he admired elegance. Terence wants to see me as Irish: sulky, laughing, wild. And me, how do I see me, who is that me I create in mirrors, the dressing-table me, the self I cannot put a name to in the Golden Door Beauty Salon?She doesn't quite know who she is. With each husband she feels that she has to be different. Even when she changes jobs she feels that her identify has to be detroyed and re-created. She feels that she is split into three Selfs: Sensible Self, My Buddy and Mad Twin. On the day of the novel she is mostly possessed by her Mad Twin self. And she's a bit of a blabbermouth, she says things before thinking through the consequences.I am, always have been, a fool who rushes in, a blurter-out of awkward truths, a speaker-up at parties who, the morning after, filled with guilt, vows that never again, no matter what, but who, faced at the very next encounter with someone whose opinions strike me as unfair, rushes in again, blurting out, breaking all vows.This confession comes when she's relating a visit from an old gent who is looking to rent the flat while she and her husband are going to be away. She notices that his clothes are a little shabby and recognises him vaguely from somewhere and more or less accuses him of casing the joint. Emabarrased, he tries to leave, but Mary (Mad Twin Mary), realises that she's made a mistake, chases after him to try to apologise even though it's too late. It turns out that he's lonely and just likes looking around rich people's flats and meeting people. During the novel we find out more about Mary's past, her family and her previous jobs but the stand-out scenes for me are the two times throughout the day when she meets up with old friends. First she meets up with her old friend from Montreal, Janice Sloane, who's in New York for a few days. This lunch scene is very amusing, right from the start there's a mix up over the restaurant they're going to. Throughout the lunch they end up revealing things about each other that are surprising and hurtful. They talk, then argue then make up. The second scene is at the end when she gets a phone-call from an old friend, or rather an old friend of her second husband, who wants to meet up with her. His name is Ernest Truelove (is Moore trying to signal something here?) and he has dinner at the Lavery's apartment, gets increasingly drunk, makes some startling revelations and makes a complete ass of himself. Moore's characterisation is brilliant here as although Ernest appears at first to be an obnoxious caricature, introduced for comic effect, he gradually becomes more realistic and, although he's still a ridiculous character at the end, we begin to empathise with him. Here's a quote from a section from the end of the novel, after Ernest has told his story.     There, in the dining-room, amid the wreck of dinner glasses, dishes, wine bottles, there settled on all three of us an instant of total immobility, as though the film of our lives had jammed. We sat, frozen in stop frame, until, suddenly, Ernie's head jerked forward and he turned to me, his face screwed up in a painful parody of a boy's embarrassed grin. 'Yes,' he said. 'I guess I have finished. Eh, Maria? Golly, I've gone and done it again. Made a fool of myself, imposed on people's kindness, irritated the people I most want to be friends with. You and Terence. Golly.'    Having castigated himself, he, like all those people who are quick to apologize, considered himself at once forgiven. He grinned again and said, 'What a horse's ass I am. I'll bet that's what you're thinking?'I am Mary Dunne is another great novel by Moore. I have also read The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne and The Feast of Lupercal which were both excellent novels. This was read as part of the 1968Club challenge.

  • Ron Block
    2019-03-20 20:15

    Beautifully depressing. What a gifted writer, Mr Moore was....

  • Joel Fishbane
    2019-03-12 19:36

    All literary affairs - like all love in general, I suppose - happen at different speeds. Sarah Vowell hit me like a ton of bricks, but Brian Moore came up quietly beside me, gently poking me in the ribs each time I walked into a book store. "Remember Brian Moore?" he says. "Remember how much you liked the last book?" I Am Mary Dunne, written in 1968, is the sixth novel by Mr. Moore that I've read and I'm sorry to say that it's taken this long for me to realize that he and I are definitely having a literary affair. That Mary Dunne has cemented this realization is probably a testament to the book itself, which seems as quiet and unassuming as its title character. The book, like its heroine, is something easily passed by on your way to flashier things. But this would be a mistake, for both are filled with tragedy as heartbreaking as it is quiet.Like William Trevor's short story, A Day, Mary Dunne takes place over the course of a single day in the life of a housewife. As Mary moves through the day, her mind reels through a haunting internal monologue that takes us through the course of her life, from her convent school days to a series of doomed marriages. There's adultery and hints of substance abuse, making Mary slightly reminiscent of Judith Hearne, another of Mr. Moore's (anti) heroines. In many ways the novel is both a testament to and an attack on the power of sentimentality, which storms through our lives and leads to moments of both beauty and embarrassment.When it comes to narrators, Mary is as unreliable as they come. Her life is given to us from her point of view, but she herself admits that her memory is not to be trusted. There is an early moment when she forgets her own name. Then there are the numerous drinks she consumes, hinting that she spends most of her day at least slightly drunk (again, this is also reminiscent of "A Day", although since it was written earlier, maybe that should be the other way around). Time and again, we are presented with moments when Mary is challenged by others to recall events that she cannot. The past continues to haunt her, but Mr. Moore suggests it's so much worse when we don't know what the past is, when the ghosts are strangers and we don't always understand what they're trying to say.Despite the serious undercurrents - by the end, suicide has also entered the picture - Mary Dunne retains a dry wit and her self-awareness leads to an occasionally comical neurosis. Equally impressive is the way Mr. Moore crafts her internal monologue, taking us skillfully between present and past so that we are never lost as to when we are. Here, as in the works of Alice Munroe and the aforementioned Mr. Trevor, time is fluid. We are launched into the stream from the beginning, but Mr. Moore is a worthy captain. Perhaps most engaging is that his novel starts with a thesis - Memento ergo sum, or "I remember, therefore I am" - and then sets out to prove as expertly as any academic. We are a product of our memories, suggests Mary Dunne. When those go, what is left?

  • Julia Herdman
    2019-03-03 20:36

    I loved this book when I read it. It said so much about the experience of being human. If you have ever looked back to examine your own past and the type of person you used to be then you will love this book too. Reading this I understood the effect of the passage of time on myself - as L.P Hartley famously wrote, "The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there," this book shows that our own past is populated by different versions of ourselves and is a foreign country to us now.

  • Paula
    2019-03-04 16:18

    The main character has more than PMS. I beleive it crossed the line into premenstural phycosis... I felt almost as strung out as she when I finished the book. The central theme appeared to be identity crises, but mental illness was always lurking about waiting to engulf Mary. I found Moore's view of women often times seemed very stilted. Not a good read. It left me feeling almost a neurotic as the heroine... ick!

  • Vionna
    2019-02-21 14:19

    I really couldn't get into this book. Mary Dunne seems to be floundering in New York, working on her third marriage and can't get a grip on her life. She seems to have three personalities inhabiting her body who are at war with each other. It got tedious after a while trying to keep track of them

  • Diane
    2019-03-08 18:23

    I'm getting close to the end of the book and find that I am enjoying it. It reminds me of Diary of a Mad Housewife that I had to read for a women's fiction class back in college (1976). I agree that her issues are more than PMS and the thought "Of course, this is written by a man" does keep flitting in and out of my head while reading.

  • Andrew Plasom-Scott
    2019-03-10 20:34

    Another very well written book from Brian Moore. He has the knack of injecting real pace and tension into a seemingly simple and slow-moving tale.Not qualified to say how good this is as the portrait of what goes on inside a woman, never having understood that myself, but it convinced me!

  • R.J.
    2019-03-01 15:09

    I read this in the late 90s. I think it fit into the time of its publication when people were divorcing/remarrying (which still happens of course) but was rather new to the American consciousness in the 70s. A woman one day in the hair salon forgets her name when asked -- she's been married 2 or 3 times and suddenly begins to question her entire identity, life and life choices.

  • Kelly
    2019-03-09 18:33

    I'm not normally one for introspectively-written character pieces, especially of women written by men, but Moore does a wonderful job with Dunne. My masters thesis was on this and the final chapter of Joyce's Ulysses on Molly Bloom.

  • Alexandra Thomas
    2019-03-15 15:26

    Loved this - it really gets inside the mind of a very specific kind of woman. And why she is the way she is. Written more than 40 years ago, it doesn't feel dated. Highly recommended.

  • Debbierea Johnston
    2019-02-27 15:37

    Mind crushing: a perfect depiction of mania and paranoia. Only read if feeling emotionally robust. Having said all that, totally brilliant.