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Country Girl: A Memoir
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Little, Brown and Company 2013
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"Country Girl is Edna O'Brien's exquisite account of her dashing, barrier-busting, up-and-down life."—National Public Radio

When Edna O'Brien's first novel, The Country Girls, was published in 1960, it so scandalized the O'Briens' local parish that the book was burned by its priest. O'Brien was undeterred and has since created a body of work that bears comparison with the best writing of the twentieth century. Country Girl brings us face-to-face with a life of high drama and contemplation.

Starting with O'Brien's birth in a grand but deteriorating house in Ireland, her story moves through convent school to elopement, divorce, single-motherhood, the wild parties of the '60s in London, and encounters with Hollywood giants, pop stars, and literary titans. There is love and unrequited love, and the glamour of trips to America as a celebrated writer and the guest of Jackie Onassis and Hillary Clinton. Country Girl is a rich and heady accounting of the events, people, emotions, and landscape that have imprinted upon and enhanced one lifetime.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
04/30/2013
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780316230353
ASIN:
B008TUWLM8
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Edna O'Brien. (2013). Country Girl: A Memoir. Little, Brown and Company.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Edna O'Brien. 2013. Country Girl: A Memoir. Little, Brown and Company.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Edna O'Brien, Country Girl: A Memoir. Little, Brown and Company, 2013.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Edna O'Brien. Country Girl: A Memoir. Little, Brown and Company, 2013. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Jun 12, 2018 18:25:26
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shortDescription

"Country Girl is Edna O'Brien's exquisite account of her dashing, barrier-busting, up-and-down life."—National Public Radio

When Edna O'Brien's first novel, The Country Girls, was published in 1960, it so scandalized the O'Briens' local parish that the book was burned by its priest. O'Brien was undeterred and has since created a body of work that bears comparison with the best writing of the twentieth century. Country Girl brings us face-to-face with a life of high drama and contemplation.

Starting with O'Brien's birth in a grand but deteriorating house in Ireland, her story moves through convent school to elopement, divorce, single-motherhood, the wild parties of the '60s in London, and encounters with Hollywood giants, pop stars, and literary titans. There is love and unrequited love, and the glamour of trips to America as a celebrated writer and the guest of Jackie Onassis and Hillary Clinton. Country Girl is a rich...

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title
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fullDescription

"Country Girl is Edna O'Brien's exquisite account of her dashing, barrier-busting, up-and-down life."—National Public Radio

When Edna O'Brien's first novel, The Country Girls, was published in 1960, it so scandalized the O'Briens' local parish that the book was burned by its priest. O'Brien was undeterred and has since created a body of work that bears comparison with the best writing of the twentieth century. Country Girl brings us face-to-face with a life of high drama and contemplation.

Starting with O'Brien's birth in a grand but deteriorating house in Ireland, her story moves through convent school to elopement, divorce, single-motherhood, the wild parties of the '60s in London, and encounters with Hollywood giants, pop stars, and literary titans. There is love and unrequited love, and the glamour of trips to America as a celebrated writer and the guest of Jackie Onassis and Hillary Clinton. Country Girl is a rich and heady accounting of the events, people, emotions, and landscape that have imprinted upon and enhanced one lifetime.

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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Philip Roth
      • content: Edna O'Brien has made of her memories something of both precision and depth, a book that, letting us see her as she was, jumps with an all-consuming curiosity from one lucidly narrated event to another, the scenes of disenchantment and bewilderment mingling with an assortment of surprises, traps, and ventures that are often, but not always, disastrous shocks. She is an observer of tears, including her own, and is able to differentiate what she calls the good tears from the bad. Only Colette is her equal as a student of the ardors of an independent woman who is also on her own as a writer.
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from February 11, 2013
        Demure reflections on her celebrated literary life well lived comprise this lovely memoir by Irish novelist and short story author O’Brien (Saints and Sinners). Organized thematically, O’Brien meanders from her deeply Catholic, decidedly respectable upbringing in Drewsboro, County Clare, where the budding young writer experienced the sensuous rural impressions that imbued her early work, through schooling with the Galway nuns and a four-year apprenticeship at a chemist’s shop in Dublin. But she yearned for a glittering literary world, “with all its sins and guile and blandishments.” Indeed, marrying the older, cosmopolitan novelist Ernest Gebler in her early 20s allowed O’Brien instant entrée into the literary milieu. She also gave birth to two sons. The publication of her first novel, The Country Girls, in 1960, spelled both the end of her marriage to a seething, resentful husband and her start as the novelist of the moment, reviled by the church for her depictions of liberated, sexual women while feted by literary lions of London and New York. Fetching, game, and talented, O’Brien attracted numerous famous studs, and she makes some bedroom confessions, revealing a night of “sparkle” with Robert Mitchum. The book also includes lively depictions of her Saturday-night parties in her house in Putney, England, during the Swinging Sixties. From Chelsea to New York to Donegal, O’Brien always returns to the enduring heart of her writing. Agent: Ed Victor, Ed Victor Literary Agency.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        March 1, 2013
        The octogenarian Irish novelist, playwright, poet, biographer (and more) revisits her rich and sometimes rowdy life. The best sections of this episodic memoir are the first and final quarters of the text. In the first, O'Brien (Saints and Sinners, 2011, etc.) writes affectingly of her girlhood--her memories of being attacked by an ill-tempered dog, of playing with dolls in her dining room, and of discovering and nurturing her interest in literature and writing. "The words ran away with me," she writes. She worked in a pharmacy in Dublin but soon fled when the seductions of sex and literature and celebrity whispered that she could have a very different life than the one she was experiencing. Her account of her marriage to writer Ernest Gebler is grim and often depressing (understatement: he was not happy about her literary success), but she eventually left him, battled for custody of her children (she eventually won) and soared off into celebrity, a state that consumes the middle--and weakest--sections of the book. She seems determined to list every famous person she encountered, and the roster seems endless--John Osborne, Robert Mitchum, Paul McCartney, R.D. Laing (who became her therapist), Harold Pinter, Gore Vidal (she stayed at his Italian villa), Arthur Schlesinger and Norman Mailer. On and on go the names, a virtual phone book of the famous. These sections are mere molecules on the surface of some much deeper issues that she neglects. In the final quarter, O'Brien returns to some effective ruminations about finding a place that's "home" and about feeling mortal--even old (an encounter with Jude Law is poignant). Near the end, she revisits her abandoned girlhood home, drifting through it and remembering. Emotion and reflection contend for prominence with superficiality; the former win, but barely.

        COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        April 1, 2013

        O'Brien's (A Fanatic Heart) memoir chronicles her journey from the Catholic restraints of her childhood in Ireland to her success as a prolific writer. In 1960, O'Brien shocked Ireland with her debut novel, The Country Girls, a sexually outspoken story about young women in love whose needs often conflict with those of their male counterparts. This led to strong disapproval from the Irish Catholic community. Yet her writing found an appreciative audience in the wider world. She lived the Swinging Sixties life in London, taking LSD and hanging out with such celebrities as Paul McCartney, Robert Mitchum, and Sean Connery, furthering her reputation as a wild, unconventional woman. VERDICT While O'Brien overly devotes her time to cataloguing the notable actors, writers, and politicians of her acquaintance, the accounts of her childhood and her descriptions of Ireland soar with a lyricism reminiscent of Joyce. Recommended for memoir lovers and readers with a desire for more insight into this important 20th-century literary figure.--Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo

        Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from March 15, 2013
        The doyenne of contemporary Irish letters did not enjoy a straight-line rise to international fame and critical regard. In fact, for many years, O'Brien's novels were banned in her native Ireland for indecency. Now, of course, in more relaxed and open-minded times, her fiction (brilliant short stories as well as novels) is seen for what it always was, richly illuminating and, yes, candid depictions of women's needs and desires, rendered with no sentimentality or salaciousness. Born into a rural family that once knew wealth but at the time of her birth had only memories of better times, Edna had a precocious interest in being a writer. Convent schooling is remembered in this absorbing memoir as dour. Relatively sophisticated Dublin beckoned. She answered the call by apprenticing in a chemist's shop in the capital, all the while convinced she would meet poets and that one day she would be admitted into the world of letters. She and the husband she had acquired moved to London (her marriage was to prove untenable), and there she began writing in earnest and with success. At this point in her remembrance, her memoir shifts into something different in substance and tone. Her unembellished Irish upbringing gives way to the glamour of the celebrity life she led in London. Still, her book is a beautifully expressed testament to a writer's tenacity.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2013, American Library Association.)

subtitle
A Memoir
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publisher
Little, Brown and Company
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