Readersforum's Blog

October 16, 2012

Country Girl: a Memoir by Edna O’Brien: review

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , — Bookblurb @ 5:29 pm

Country Girl: A Memoir
by Edna O’Brien

Frances Wilson is gripped by Edna O’Brien’s memoir recounting her journey from country girl to Chelsea girl.

Three years before the Chatterley ban and the Beatles’ first LP, Edna O’Brien’s debut novel, The Country Girls (1960) introduced sexual intercourse to Ireland. The book, whose subject was women in love, was suppressed and in some places burned; even the postmistress in O’Brien’s home town in County Clare held that the author of such filth should be kicked naked through the streets. Many years later, O’Brien discovered that her mother had hidden her copy in a bolster case with the offending words daubed out in black ink.

Country Girl is the memoir that Edna O’Brien swore she would never write, but because her stories have tended to mine the seam between fact and fiction, much of what she tells here – her escape from the tyranny of the church into a tyrannical marriage, her journey from a time-locked Ireland to an England on the cusp of the Swinging Sixties – will be familiar to readers of her novels.

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