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Edna O'Brien returns with 'greatest' novel

By Kirsty Blake Knox

Acclaimed author Edna O'Brien (84) will release her first novel in 10 years next February.

And it sounds like her latest work will be just as provocative and compulsive as her previous books.

Titled The Little Red Chairs, the book will tell the story of a wanted war criminal who settles in a small Irish village.

While ensconced there he meets heroine Fidelma McBride who falls under his spell.

O'Brien charts the couple's fatal attraction. The rights for the book have been acquired by Faber & Faber. Creative director of the publishing house, Lee Brackstone, believes the book will become O'Brien's greatest masterpiece.

"Edna has gone deep into the darkness for this book," Brackstone said.

"She returns with a book of monumental emotional intelligence and courage. The novel burns with a fierce lyricism... It may be her masterpiece."

O'Brien was born in Tuamgraney, Co Clare, a town with no library and 27 pubs.

She moved to London in her early 20s and penned her debut novel, The Country Girls, in three weeks in 1960.

Since then O'Brien has written more than 20 novels along with biographies of James Joyce and Lord Byron.

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