Ruth & Pen by Emilie Pine: a novel full of empathy and goodwill

Author has followed her essays Notes to Self with a contemporary Dublin Mrs Dalloway

Emilie Pine: Ruth & Pen follows her hugely successful collection of personal essays, Notes to Self (2019).

Emilie Pine: Ruth & Pen follows her hugely successful collection of personal essays, Notes to Self (2019).

A contemporary Dublin Mrs Dalloway?  Not a bad idea by any means. Virginia Woolf’s masterpiece is set, you will recall, in London on a single day, June 13th, 1923. (A critic recently suggested that we should mark this day as festively as we mark Bloomsday – perhaps, in this case, by throwing parties attended by the British prime minister or by inducing traumatic flashbacks to the first World War.)

The action of Ruth & Pen, Emilie Pine’s debut novel, also takes place on a single day, in this case September 20th, 2019, the day of the climate strike protest in Dublin. Like Mrs Dalloway, it follows two unrelated characters through their waking hours; in this case, Ruth Ryan, a psychotherapist, and Pen, who is 16 and, as her friend Alice puts it, “on the spectrum”.

The Irish Times
Please subscribe or sign in to continue reading.
The Irish Times

How can I keep reading?

You’ve reached an article that is only available to Irish Times subscribers.

Subscribe today and get the full picture for just €1 for the first month.

Subscribe No obligation, cancel any time.