Country Girl

Country Girl

A Memoir

Book - 2013
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Grand Central Pub
"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.

Baker & Taylor
The award-winning author of Saints and Sinners presents a lyrical narrative of her life that describes her convent school education in Ireland, the scandal that ensued upon the publication of her first novel and the wild 1960s parties that introduced her to people from all walks of life. 50,000 first printing.

Book News
Edna O'Brien is rightly famous as a writer of lyric prose, and though she is most known for her short stories and novels, the brilliance of her language is on full display here. The book is more autobiography than memoir; she writes in the late evening of a full life, begins with her birth, and ends the book alone in her living room, in the present moment. In between is the life of an Irish writer, whose great heritage and responsibility is to language. It's also the life of a member of the generation of women artists who went from an utterly stifling middle-class world to the swinging Sixties (Chelsea school), and discovered in the midst of all that liberation that a woman's work might get her in the doors of the very best parties, but it would not get either artist or work evaluated on their own merits. That came later, after the scandals. The book has the quiet, unsentimental honesty of a writer who has successfully waited it out. She has the same capacity for detachment as Joan Didion, and uses it to observe her own beginnings as an artist, a mother, and a human being as an example of how little the flower of youth has any idea what it's doing, and the difference between worthwhile and useless suffering. Along the way, O'Brien found pursuing clarity of vision and language was more useful than being known as either a good girl or a cause célébre, and more compelling than her church, men, or fame. Readers of this book are likely to agree. Annotation ©2013 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

& Taylor

The acclaimed author describes her convent school education in Ireland, the scandal that ensued upon the publication of her first novel, and the wild 1960s parties that introduced her to people from all walks of life.

Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2013
Edition: First North American edition
Description: x, 357 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
ISBN: 9780316122702
Branch Call Number: 823.09 OBr


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May 31, 2017

I enjoyed this memoir.

Jan 25, 2016

Well written. An interesting portrait of her life and times in the sixties and beyond.

Mar 27, 2015

"The world with all its sins and guile and blandishments was beckoning."
Irish writer Edna O'Brien's debut novel "Country Girls" shocked her hometown and the parish priest burned a copy. O'Brien's memoir discusses her childhood in Ireland, her literary career, her struggles (church, family, country), and her life in London, where she has lived for many years. Clear eyed, observant, and witty, this is a fine memoir by a writer whom Philip Roth has compared to Colette.

actor35 Sep 16, 2014

I'm trying to renew but it keeps coming up as hold

Jan 20, 2014

A memoir by a remarkable woman. The first half is better than the second half, but all is worth reading.

ChristchurchLib Dec 18, 2012

Biography and Memoir December 2012 newsletter

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Aug 14, 2017

Voiceprint thinks this title is suitable for 20 years and over


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