Synopses & Reviews
In The Mammy, star Irish comedian Brendan O'Carroll introduced fans to the earthy and exuberant Agnes Browne, a fiesty young widow struggling to raise an unruly, high-spirited brood in The Jarro, the gritty tenement heart of 1960s Dublin. Over the course of two subsequent novels, The Chisellers and The Granny, fans accompanied her through all her children's escapades and the other adversities that challenged her starch, street smarts, and wit. Soon there was a movie, Agnes Browne. But hungry fans wanted more.
Now, in The Young Wan, they have Agnes as even her children never saw her-a girl, a "young wan," growing up in the 1940s. The shy child Agnes Reddin and Marion Delany, destined to be her lifelong best friend, together survive the indignities and demands of schoolteacher nuns, unwelcome siblings, first jobs, first dances, and first encounters with the opposite sex. Agnes learns the street market trade from a tough ex-con and is about to marry the good-for-nothing charmer Redser Browne. But in a world where everyone knows everyone else's business, it's not only her motherwith a past of her own to recountwho fears Agnes will be turned away at the altar if she persists in wearing white. For within Agnes there buds already the first of the family to whom she'll become the ur-Irish mother.
Filled with O'Carroll's trademark wicked wit and loving, larger-than-life characters, The Young Wan reveals the inner workings of one family and onewoman who cheerfully and irreverently defy everything life throws at them.
Publishers Weekly hailed Sophie and the Rising Sun, Augusta Trobaugh's previous novel, as "part Remains of the Day, part wartime drama." And Anne Rivers Siddons calls Trobaugh "a voice from and for the South, as complex and resonant as the region itself." Now this uniquely gifted storyteller gives us her most radiant and resilient character yet: fourteen-year-old Dove, born into a hardscrabble world of poverty and abandonment, forced to become wise beyond her years by life's tough breaks. A series of family tragedies leaves Dove, her younger sister, Molly, and their baby brother, Little Ellis, in the care of their stepmother, seventeen-year-old Crystal. Overwhelmed by raising three orphaned children on her own, Crystal turns to their Bible-thumping Aunt Bett, and Dove herself takes on much of the responsibility for looking after her siblings. But the fragile new household is disrupted when Molly's deadbeat blood father threatens to bring a custody suit. Determined to keep the family together, Crystal and Dove flee with the children to a secret refuge called Swan Place. It is here that the emerging woman Dove meets a group of devout Black women who transform her life--and the lives of her family--in unusual and profound ways. With insight and compassion, Trobaugh once again illuminates the battles--large and small--we wage daily in the face of adversity, the everyday miracles that help us survive, and the faith that carries us through.
Filled with O'Carroll's trademark wicked wit and loving, larger-than-life characters, "The Young Wan" shows the hardscrabble beginnings of the ultimate Irish mother and family.
Before she was a Mammy, before she had Chisellers, and before they made her a Granny, Agnes Browne was Agnes Reddin, a young girl-or a Young Wan- growing up in the Jarro in Dublin.
Brendan O'Carroll takes readers back to the heart of working-class Dublin, this time in the 1940s. Together with her soon to be lifelong best friend Marion Delany, young Agnes manages to survive the indignities and demands of Catholic school, the unwanted births of siblings, days spent in the factories and markets, and nights in the dance hall as rock-and-roll invades Dublin.
But on the eve of her wedding night, the Jarro is alive with gossip—will Agnes be turned away at the altar? For the whole parish knows Agnes's not-so-well-kept secret. And with a mother falling further into dementia, and a younger sister turning to a life of crime, it's up to Agnes alone to keep her splintering family together, while trying to create one of her own.
Filled with O'Carroll's trademark wicked wit and loving, larger-than-life characters, The Young Wan shows the hardscrabble beginnings of the ultimate Irish mother and family.
About the Author
Brendan O'Carroll, the youngest of eleven children, was born in Stonybatter, a North Dublin neighborhood, in 1955. He is an acclaimed playwright and Ireland's most popular stand-up comedian. The creator of a hugely successful Irish radio show, Mrs. Browne's Boys (the genesis of his novels), O'Carroll is also an actor and has a role in the upcoming film version of Angela's Ashes. All the books in his Mrs. Browne trilogy were #1 bestsellers in his native Ireland. He lives in Dublin, Ireland.