The Rising of Bella Casey

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The O'Brien Press, Sep 16, 2013 - Fiction - 352 pages
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'a wonderful book from one of our finest writers' Colum McCann

Bella is a bright, clever girl who trains as a school teacher, determined to escape the limitations of her genteel impoverishment and become a “mistress of her own life”. However, the manager of her school, the Rev Archibald Leeper, a married clergyman, develops a morbid attachment to her, which is to colour the rest of her life. Leeper places Bella in an untenable position; her only escape is to seduce a young army corporal, Nicholas Beaver, to hide the fact that her reputation has been ruined by the clergyman. She marries Nicholas and they have five children. However, when Nicholas dies at the age of 40 from syphilis, Bella realizes belatedly that she is not the only one who has been keeping sexual secrets.

Bella Casey was the sister of the playwright, Sean O’Casey. Tellingly, though, her brother chose to kill her off prematurely in his autobiography – at least 10 years before her actual demise.

 

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Contents

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THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY
THE ORNAMENTAL BIRDCAGE
THE STRIKING OF ALFIE BAXTER
THE ART OF NECESSITY
CHANCE ENCOUNTERS
THE RELIEF OF LADYSMITH
THE BALLSBRIDGE EXHIBITION
NEW SPECTACLES
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About the author (2013)

Mary Morrissy is the author of three novels, Mother of Pearl, The Pretender and The Rising of Bella Casey, and a collection of stories, A Lazy Eye. Her second collection of stories, Prosperity Drive, is forthcoming in 2016. Mother of Pearl, her first novel, was shortlisted for the Whitbread Award (now Costa) and The Pretender and The Rising of Bella Casey were both nominated for the Dublin Impac International Literary Award. Her short fiction has been anthologised widely, most recently in Dubliners 100 and All Over Ireland: New Irish Short Stories. She has won a Hennessy Award and been awarded the prestigious US Lannan Award which honours writers whose work “is of exceptional quality”. She has taught creative writing in the US and Ireland since 2000 and currently leads the fiction component on the MA in Creative Writing at UCC. She was appointed a member of Aosdana in 2015.

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