Beloved Stranger by Clare Boylan

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What happens when madness shatters a marriage? An acclaimed Irish novelist explores this question in a comic, contemporary take on King Lear After fifty years of marriage in the same Dublin suburb, Dick and Lily Butler enjoy a "safe" life of compromise, of small and loving concessions to each other. Then one night their happy, balanced world is upended forever, when Lily wakes to find Dick under the bed, holding a shotgun, convinced there's an intruder in the house. This darkly comic incident marks Dick's terrifying plunge into insanity, his freefall into a world of imaginary enemies and sexual fantasies. For Lily, an old-fashioned wife who has accepted her partner for better or worse, there is nowhere to turn. Now, for the first time, she finds herself unable to follow where her husband leads and is utterly disoriented by this freedom. She is forced to confront the rock face of marriage; having been bound together, she and Dick are now marooned together Part thriller, part love story, part macabre comedy, Beloved Stranger is also an analysis of marriage at the end of the millennium-a changeless institution in a vastly altered world.

About Clare Boylan

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Clare Boylan is the author of seven novels, which include "Holy Pictures, Room for a Single Lady, Black Baby," and "Beloved Stranger," She has also written several works of nonfiction.
Published August 26, 1999 by Little, Brown & Company. 309 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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As the disease makes its slow progress, Dick's manias become increasingly threatening and draw the few remaining family friends into their vortex.

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Book Reporter

When Lily explains the situation to Ruth and begs her to find out what is really going on, Ruth is forced to take a look down the intricately built but somewhat slippery slope that has made up her parents' marriage.

Apr 03 2001 | Read Full Review of Beloved Stranger

Boston Review

In one hair-raising manic episode, Dick holds Lily hostage with the shotgun, rubbing the muzzle against her cheek while he takes his afternoon tea.

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