MISS EMILY

Nuala O'Connor

The American debut of an award-winning Irish writer that brings to life Emily Dickinson and will enthrall fans of Longbourn and Mrs. Poe.

Nuala O’Connor’s enchanting American debut novel, Miss Emily, reimagines the private life of Emily Dickinson, one of America’s most beloved poets, through her own voice and through the eyes of her family’s Irish maid.

Eighteen-year-old Ada Concannon has just been hired by the respected but eccentric Dickinson family of Amherst, Massachusetts. Despite their difference in age and the upstairs-downstairs divide, Ada strikes up a deep friendship with Miss Emily,

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The American debut of an award-winning Irish writer that brings to life Emily Dickinson and will enthrall fans of Longbourn and Mrs. Poe.

Nuala O’Connor’s enchanting American debut novel, Miss Emily, reimagines the private life of Emily Dickinson, one of America’s most beloved poets, through her own voice and through the eyes of her family’s Irish maid.

Eighteen-year-old Ada Concannon has just been hired by the respected but eccentric Dickinson family of Amherst, Massachusetts. Despite their difference in age and the upstairs-downstairs divide, Ada strikes up a deep friendship with Miss Emily, the gifted elder daughter living a spinster’s life at home. But Emily’s passion for words begins to dominate her life. She will wear only white and avoids the world outside the Dickinson homestead. When Ada’s safety and reputation are threatened, however, Emily must face down her own demons in order to help her friend, with shocking consequences.

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  • Penguin Books
  • Paperback
  • July 2015
  • 256 Pages
  • 9780143126751

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$16.00

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About Nuala O'Connor

Nuala O’Connor has worked as a bookseller, a librarian, and in a writers’ center. She lives in East Galway, Ireland, with her husband and three children.

Praise

“Nuala O’Connor’s lovely novel . . . pulls us in from its first limpid lines and then detonates with an explosion of power — much like Emily Dickinson’s poems. The novel captivates with its high emotions and rich images. Hope, Ada comments, ‘may be small and bald at first, but then it gathers feathers to itself and flies on robust wings.’ So, too, does O’Connor’s quietly soaring novel.”—The Washington Post

“O’Connor is a gifted writer; not only does she bring a believable sense of poetry (clay is “deathly cool around my fingers”) and self-assurance to Emily, she is also capable of conveying complex feeling succinctly, a talent shared by her historical heroine. This novel has the possibility of being a book club juggernaut.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A superb novel, I was captivated from the first page. With gorgeous, compelling period detail and graceful prose, Nuala O’Connor reimagines a friendship between one of our greatest poets and her Irish maid. With uncanny insight into the expected portrayal of a servant-mistress relationship, and in keeping with the power and beauty of Dickinson’s poetry, O’Connor celebrates her women with great delicacy and exuberance.”Kathleen Grissom, bestselling author of The Kitchen House

“1800s Massachusetts comes to life, awash in rich period details and scenery, complete with a trip to the circus and lugging chamber pots up and down stairs. .. O’Connor does a beautiful job giving Ada a role as witness to Emily Dickinson’s life … making Ada’s chapters as linguistically alive as Dickinson’s. They hum with Irish sayings and their own poetic cadence, even sometimes becoming a reflection of familiar Dickinson themes. Ada’s observations on nature, loneliness and hope contain echoes of Dickinson’s poetry—while remaining distinct to her own narration. This is one of the book’s great strengths, a sort of mixing and matching of language and perspective.”—The Rumpus