A Fanatic Heart Selected Stories

FSG Classics

Edna O'Brien; Foreword by Philip Roth

Farrar, Straus and Giroux



Trade Paperback

480 Pages


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In these selections from twenty years of her best short fiction, Edna O'Brien pulls the reader into a woman's experience. Her stories portray a young Irish girl's view of obsessive love and its often wrenching pain, while tales of contemporary life show women who open themselves to sexuality, to disappointment, to madness. Throughout, there is always O'Brien's voice—wondrous, despairing, moving—examining passionate subjects that lay bare the desire and needs that can be hidden in a woman's heart.


Praise for A Fanatic Heart

"She has—as only the finest writers can—created a world: she speaks in a voice identifiably and only hers."—Mary Gordon, The New York Times Book Review

"There's no writer alive who sounds quite like Edna O'Brien. Only a person of abiding compassion could write those lovely words; they echo in almost every page of A Fanatic Heart."—Washington Post Book World

"A landmark collection . . . The Irish writer's exquisite perceptions and empathy with the women of her country exert an emotional pull, compelling the reader to live the straitened circumstances of their lives."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Edna O'Brien; Foreword by Philip Roth

  • Edna O'Brien is the author of more than twenty-five books, including, most recently, The Light of Evening. Born in County Clare, Ireland, she now lives in London.

  • Edna O'Brien Guardian News and Media Ltd 2015
    Edna O'Brien
  • Philip Roth