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92Y's Read By

Oct 4, 2020

Tessa Hadley on her selection:

Deidre Madden is an Irish novelist whose books I love. Her writing has a beautiful lucidity and simplicity of style, free of all affectation; her stories begin so naturally and easily, and yet can take the reader down into the deepest - and sometimes the darkest - places. The lovely conceit of her novel Molly Fox's Birthday is that the writer has swapped homes, for a few weeks, with her best friend Molly Fox, a successful actor. What a brilliant invention - and yet so inevitable, now that Madden has thought of it! So the narrator, who is herself a playwright, wakes up on this first morning in the other woman's house in her absence: among her things, inside the shape of her life - and also inevitably, as time passes, among Molly's friends too, and caught up in the complex net of Molly's relations. It's such a richly intriguing way of exploring a life and telling a life-story.

Molly Fox’s Birthday at

Music: "Shift of Currents" by Blue Dot Sessions // CC BY-NC 2.0