Country Girl by Edna O'Brien

72%

12 Critic Reviews

She recalls, at one point, some time she spent with Norman Mailer. He said to her “You’re too interior, that’s your problem.” Her problem? Perhaps. But also her genius.
-Toronto Star

Synopsis

"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.
 

About Edna O'Brien

See more books from this Author
Writer Edna O'Brien was born in Clare County, Ireland, in 1936 and attended Pharmaceutical College in Dublin. O'Brien, winner of the Kingsley Amis Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Price and the European Literature Prize, has written short stories, novels, plays, television plays and screenplays. She has also written for such magazines as Cosmopolitan, Ladies Home Journal and The New Yorker.
 
Published April 30, 2013 by Little, Brown and Company. 368 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, History, Young Adult. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Country Girl
All: 12 | Positive: 9 | Negative: 3

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by STACY SCHIFF on May 10 2013

O’Brien’s early years are rich in downwardly mobile disappearance.

Read Full Review of Country Girl | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on Apr 29 2013

Ms. O’Brien has long and correctly been recognized as among the greatest Irish writers of the 20th century. She’s had an outsize life to match her outsize talent.

Read Full Review of Country Girl | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by ANNE ENRIGHT on Oct 12 2012

The influence of Joyce is everywhere in O'Brien's work, and her discussion of his style is a manifesto for her own...

Read Full Review of Country Girl | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Rachel Cooke on Sep 29 2012

O'Brien is one of the last writers we have whose prose contains deep within it the cadences of the Bible and the liturgy and this gives the book a certain weight; I read it almost with a sense of mourning.

Read Full Review of Country Girl | See more reviews from Guardian

NPR

Good
Reviewed by Heller McAlpin on May 01 2013

Country Girl, the memoir O'Brien swore she'd never write, is a generous gift to readers, conveying the enormous challenge — and inspiration — of such intense engagement and spirited independence.

Read Full Review of Country Girl | See more reviews from NPR

Kirkus

Above average
on Feb 07 2013

The octogenarian Irish novelist, playwright, poet, biographer (and more) revisits her rich and sometimes rowdy life....Emotion and reflection contend for prominence with superficiality; the former win, but barely.

Read Full Review of Country Girl | See more reviews from Kirkus

Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by KRISTIN TILLOTSON on Apr 27 2013

Laced with O’ Brien’s characteristic lyricism, the first two parts of the book paint an almost magical picture of a fanciful girl given to creating dramas out of her mundane surroundings...

Read Full Review of Country Girl | See more reviews from Star Tribune

Washington Times

Below average
Reviewed by Martin Rubin on Jul 10 2013

It is unlikely that many readers will finish “Country Girl” with an enhanced view of either its author or her oeuvre.

Read Full Review of Country Girl | See more reviews from Washington Times

LA Times

Above average
Reviewed by Charles McNulty on Apr 26 2013

"Country Girl" won't satisfy those wanting a rigorous biographical accounting. O'Brien is better at recapturing states of feeling than she is at systematically recounting the shifting coordinates of a dizzying life.

Read Full Review of Country Girl | See more reviews from LA Times

Toronto Star

Good
Reviewed by Deborah Dundas on May 16 2013

She recalls, at one point, some time she spent with Norman Mailer. He said to her “You’re too interior, that’s your problem.” Her problem? Perhaps. But also her genius.

Read Full Review of Country Girl | See more reviews from Toronto Star

National Post arts

Below average
Reviewed by Philip Marchand on Jun 14 2013

Readers of Canadian literature will recognize a strong echo of another literary marriage, that of Sheila and Wilfred Watson.

Read Full Review of Country Girl | See more reviews from National Post arts

National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Philip Marchand on Jun 14 2013

Her spirit has no peace. “I think that all I ever wanted was someone to whom I could tell my fears, and from it an imprisoned music would flow,” she writes at the end of her memoir. That someone she never found, but the imprisoned music is still with us.

Read Full Review of Country Girl | See more reviews from National Post arts

Reader Rating for Country Girl
60%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 132 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review