Dinner Party by Sarah Gilmartin: Escaping from maternal control

Book review: Drama swirls around family trying to free themselves of Mammy’s influence

Sarah Gilmartin: writes well and with lightness of touch about the half-light of Dublin winters in a small apartment

Sarah Gilmartin: writes well and with lightness of touch about the half-light of Dublin winters in a small apartment

Dinner Party begins with a dinner given by Kate Gleeson in her Dublin apartment at Halloween. Kate has spent hours cooking a heavy menu: scallops, beef Wellington, baked Alaska topped with piped meringue. Her guests are her two brothers, Ray and Peter, and Peter’s wife, Liz. They gather to remember Kate’s twin sister Elaine, who died as a teenager in 1999.

Kate can cook but she can’t eat. Elaine’s death triggered years of disordered eating, self-destructive choices in careers and relationships and half-suppressed family conflict. Liz, the outsider, gives voice to tension, suggesting a dangerous game in which family members describe each other in one word.

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