Edna OBrien grew up in rural County Clare, Ireland in a town which had 27 pubs but no library. Her heroes were Joyce and Beckett.
'The Country Girls' was her first novel.
It was released in 1960 and was banned in Ireland. The family priest publicly burnt copies of it. She claims it took 3 weeks to write and that "It had written itself, i was merely the messenger".
An alcoholic gambling father, a homestead in decline and convent school life provides her with the raw material for her fiction.
After four years working in a Dublin pharmacy she runs away to the Isle of Man with an older author who she later marries. He seems to be threatened by her writing success and eventually she leaves for London and gains custody of her children. (The children are rarely mentioned in this book.)
Fabulous tales of the swinging sixties party life and the celebrities she mixed with. Sean Connery, Richard Burton, Paul McCartney, Robert Mitchum, Harold Pinter, Gore Vidal and Jackie Onassis to name a few.
"I was excited by this galaxy of visitors, and yet i was never carried away. I knew it was transitory, we were all on route, heading for other places, orbiting up,up."
Written in her 78th year,the vivid story of her life flows along effortlessly. A joy to read, packed with memories rich in detail, colours and scents and lyrical descriptions.
Title: Country Girl: A Memoir
Author: Edna O'Brien
Publisher: Faber and Faber
- Claire, Central City Library