Molly Fox’s Birthday by Deirdre Madden
Published: 2008 by Picador
This novel is similar to James Joyce’s Ulysses because:
It is set in Dublin (though there are some scenes in London)
It takes place over the course of one day
Something else that if I mention it, it would be a mild spoiler for this novel (I don’t think there are opportunities for spoilers in Ulysses!). It’s not a spoiler in the truest sense, but if I knew about it I think I would have had a different experience reading the book.
This novel is different from Ulysses because:
It’s readable (yes, I have slogged through Ulysses so I know of what I speak)
It’s about 500 pages shorter (probably contributing to the readable point)
The main character is female
It’s funny how the first thing I thought about after finishing Molly Fox’s Birthday is the similarities to Ulysses. And a bit weird, I know.
So it’s Molly Fox’s birthday (specific date unmentioned — another departure from Ulysses), but the main character is actually one of her oldest and closest friends: A playwright who is staying in Molly’s Dublin home (and who frankly I can’t remember being named at all in the book) while Molly, an actress, is in New York. As she goes about her day, the friend thinks back on her relationship with Molly and with others that have walked through her life, as well as encountering people who call at the house to wish Molly well (her birthday has been announced in the newspapers).
The inside flap describes the novel as “… about a turning point – a moment when past and future suddenly appear in a new light.” I didn’t get this, but apart from that I found it to be an enjoyable book. I didn’t love it, but I’m glad I read it.