Author Edna O’Brien on the role of women, and writing about a war criminal

Listen 00:48:45

Guest: Edna O’Brien

A new novel offers a meditation on evil and the quest for redemption. The main character in The Little Red Chairs crosses paths with a mysterious stranger who is revealed to be a notorious war criminal and mass murderer. She then sets out on a journey that leads her to a community of refugees and that brings both profound hardship and, ultimately, the prospect of redemption. Moving from Ireland to London and then to The Hague, The Little Red Chairs is EDNA O’BRIEN‘s first novel in ten years — a vivid and unflinching exploration of humanity’s capacity for evil and artifice as well as the bravest kind of love. Guest host Mary Cummings-Jordan speaks with O’Brien about the ways in which the new novel is a departure from her past work, and why she emphasizes the roles of girls and women in her writing.

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal