The Little Red Chairs

  • by Edna O'Brien
  • Narrated by Juliet Stevenson
  • 9 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A woman discovers that the foreigner she thinks will redeem her life is a notorious war criminal.
Vlad, a stranger from Eastern Europe masquerading as a healer, settles in a small Irish village where the locals fall under his spell. One woman, Fidelma McBride, becomes so enamored that she begs him for a child. All that world is shattered when Vlad is arrested, and his identity as a war criminal is revealed.
Fidelma, disgraced, flees to England and seeks work among the other migrants displaced by wars and persecution. But it is not until she confronts him - her nemesis - at the tribunal in The Hague that her physical and emotional journey reaches its breathtaking climax.
The Little Red Chairs is a book about love and the endless search for it. It is also a book about mankind's fascination with evil and how long, how crooked, is the road toward home.


What the Critics Say

"The great Edna O'Brien has written her masterpiece." (Philip Roth)
"The Little Red Chairs is a daring invention set at the bloody crossroads where worlds collide: savage, tender, and true." (John Banville)
"O'Brien, a master at weaving the personal with the political, has a perfect partner in narrator Juliet Stevenson...this is no mere tale of love gone wrong--it's a powerfully read modern parable." (AudioFile)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Red, as Scarlet, as Enraging, as Bloody

You live in a quaint, if a little busybody, Irish hamlet, a beauty swept off her feet by a much older man, marrying in your well-earned white dress. 15, 20 years pass, your life is humdrum, sort of nice with your much older husband but your clock is ticking and his dock ain't kicking.

A very distinguished, intriguing, attractive foreign (perhaps Russian) doctor/chiropractor in his early 40s moves into town, renting a room near your art shop. He subtly suggests that you look like you need a lover. Your biological clock starts to wind in the corner of your mind, and you seek a child with this man, a child your husband cannot give you.

Weeks/months pass by and you become pregnant despite knowing now of a few negative character traits. One day government agents blow into this little village to make a highly publicized arrest of the most wanted Serbian war criminal (think, Milosevic, Karadzic).

PapaDaddy is, as it turns out, the Prince of Darkness, Beƫlzebub in the body, Father of Lies in the flesh, Author of Evil, the Old Serpent.

The novel blasts with double-barrels, driven by morally difficult questions and, to my mind, unloading on some leaders in the Catholic Church as, at best, judgmental and indifferent to humanity and not at all worthy of reflecting the Redeemer, or, worse, complicit in abetting such a monstrous castigation that even Lucifer would have to look away. Ms. O'Brien has never shied away from criticizing or offending the Catholic Church of her Ireland.

Warning: this book contains one of the most diabolical and horrendous acts of sexual violence against a female in all literature, at least that I've read.
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- W Perry Hall "One master-passion in the br east, like Aaron's serpent, swallows all the rest. A. Pope"


Darkly human; Beautifully written; Brilliantly read. An outsider tantalizes and brings the evil of wars to a small contemporary Irish community. Wounded souls try to make make meaning and heal together. Gorgeous and horrifying imagery. Juliet Stevenson exceeds the challenge and nearly creates a new performing arts form. Brava!
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- Darcy "Voracious reader with MS. Audible awesome when cognitive fatigue hits. Literature, history, spirituality, psychology. Carpinteria, CA."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-29-2016
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio