The influence of Joyce is everywhere in O'Brien's work, and her discussion of his style is a manifesto for her own: "the lush descriptions of corpses and steers and pigs and kine, and sea and sea stones, and then the extraordinary ascensions in which worlds within worlds unfolded." He was such a girl, Joyce.
Mailer might have found him too interior, though he would never have kissed him, shyly, in a church in Brooklyn while sheltering from the rain. It was a funny time, the late 20th century, when men wrote like men, and women wrote like women, and then everybody said mean things about who was right and who was just whoring around. And if you ask me, it wasn't Edna.-Anne Enright has reviewed the memoirs of Edna O'Brien, for the Guardian, and her conclusions are informative and celebratory.