April is One City, One Book month in Dublin and this year’s book
is the novel Ghost Light by Joseph O’Connor, author of Star of the
Sea. Ghost Light, on Bookworks’ shelves now, is the moving,
fictionalized story of Molly Allgood, who as a young girl was an actress in Dublin’s
Abbey Theatre and the lover of the playwright John Millington Synge.
In the present of the novel, Molly is living in poverty in post World War II
London, her career as an acclaimed actress behind her, her passion for life
still alive but surviving largely on memories.
Every day, somewhere in the city, there’s an event designed to enhance
the experience of reading the book. The kickoff was an evening of “The Music
of Ghost Light” at the Abbey Theatre which featured many performers,
including Camille O’Sullivan, Steve Cooney and the author’s sister, Sinead.
Other events include a dramatized reading of the letters of J. M. Synge and
Molly Allgood, the writer and critic Declan Kiberd discussing Synge’s use of
Irish language and Hiberno-English in his plays, and an informal dance workshop
featuring the music of Edwardian Dublin. It’s a wide-ranging, well-planned program
that’s created some buzz around the city.