Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Friday, March 22, 2013

"Dinner With Annie" by Gemma O'Connor

"Dinner With Annie" by Gemma O'Connor (2004, 13 pages)

Year III
March 1 to March 31
Irish Stew from Patrick Guilbaud

Gemma O'Connor

Event Resources-links to lots of Irish short stories-from classics to those written in 2013.  Please contact me if you have any questions about how to participate or any suggestions

"Dinner With Annie" by Gemma O'Connor is another story by a best selling Irish writer published in Irish Girls Are Back In Town, described by the publisher as collection  "Irish Chick Lit" stories.  In order to understand the nature of "Chick Lit" a bit more I turned to and here is how they explained it:

"Chick lit is a genre comprised of books that are mainly written by women for women. The books range from having main characters in their early 20′s to their late 60′s. There is usually a personal, light, and humorous tone to the books. Sometimes they are written in first-person narrative; other time they are written from multiple viewpoints. The plots usually consist of women experiencing usual life issues, such as love, marriage, dating, relationships, friendships, roommates, corporate environments, weight issues, addiction, and much more.
So how does that differ from regular woman’s fiction, you might be wondering? Well, it’s all in the tone. Chick lit is told in a more confiding, personal tone. It’s like having a best friend tell you about her life. Or watching various characters go through things that you have gone through yourself, or witnessed others going through. Humor is a strong point in chick lit, too. Nearly every chick lit book I have read has had some type of humor in it. THAT is what really separates chick lit from regular woman’s fiction."

Some times the term "chick lit" can be dismissive, some times it is a marketing label.  Like it or not, Chick Lit authors fill up the front racks in most book stores!

Based on the stories in Irish Girls Are Back In Town, all of the men of interest in the world of Chick Lit are either very rich or a bit of a "bad boy".  Your perfect man, as seen in "Dinner With Annie" seems to be a very wealthy, very fit man twenty five years your senior who treats you like a princess and will leave you rich upon his passing.  The lead character who tells the story in her person is a 41 year old woman, still beautiful of course, married to a 67 year old developer from one of the richest families in Dublin.  He has been married twice before and has daughters almost her age.   When he first meets her he invites her to lunch at the only two Michelin star restaurant in Ireland Patrick Guilbaud.  Of course she has never been there but she tells him, playing it cool, I cannot go tomorrow but you are free to call me for another time and he does.    Compressing a lot, we meet his best friends, a group of men who knew each other since they went to Temple University together.   To me it seems like a bunch of pretty old fraternity boys but I will let that go.  

"If there are any 67 year old Billionaires with
heart problems reading this, HI!"
Annie is also part of this inner circle.   She is 55 by also still very attractive to men.   She is very rich also and owns the two most expensive shoe stores in Dublin.  The narrator is seven months pregnant.   Her step daughters are outraged, for one thing they do not want their inheritance diluted.  OK now things begin to heat  up.   The husband dies while exercising.   Annie is the rock that consoles the woman but there is a twist, of course.  You can read the story to find out what it is if you like.  

I am glad I read this story.  It is kind of predictable and does seem like pure chick lit where everything revolves around a man, in this case one old enough to be the central character's father. The narrator goes on about what a great lover he is and how he is always showering her with expensive gifts  Women seem valued only for their looks and their status as expensive accessories.   If a woman is plain or a man just working for a living, he has no place in the world of this story.  

Author Data

Gemma O'Connor

Gemma O’Connor, a crime and suspense novelist, was born in Dublin and lived for many years in Oxford, where she was a bookbinder and restorer. She also worked in publishing for three years before writing her first bestseller. Her career track has also included jobs as an airhostess for Aer Lingus, a script reader, and a publicist for a group of Irish publishers. In 1985, she organized the first Irish Book Fair at London’s Festival Hall. O’Connor’s novels include Time to Remember (2000, Bantam), Sins of Omission (1999, Bantam), Falls the Shadow (1996, Poolbeg Press), Farewell to the Flesh (1998, Bantam), Walking on Water (2001, Bantam), and Following the Wake (2002, Bantam). Her work has been translated into many languages. Currently she is writing a trilogy, titled The Tailor’s Children, about an Irish family spanning the twentieth century.

Mel u

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