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Grand Days

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  307 ratings  ·  33 reviews
A contemporary romantic Australian masterpiece, Grand Days tells of the moral and sexual awakening of an idealistic young Australian woman working in the diplomatic corps in Europe in the aftermath of World War I.

On a train from Paris to Geneva, Edith Campbell Berry meets Major Ambrose Westwood in the dining car, and allows him to kiss her passionately. Their early intimac
Paperback, 678 pages
Published January 1st 2000 by Random House (Vintage) (first published 1993)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 676)
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Uggh. This book dragged. I should have given up on it each time I thought I should, but I kept reading in the hopes it may get better. It didn't. By the end the only character I even sort of liked had been sacrificed and there was nothing left to hold my interest. I finished the book, only to say I had. I will definitely not be searching out the remaining books in the trilogy.

Overall, it was too long, too wandering, too vague, and had much too much sex. I had hoped there would be more on the bac
Maddie Barton
a beautifully awkward and tender coming of age novel. The novel (the first and best of three) is an intricate character study of Edith Campbell Berry who is a fantastic heroine, carefully articulated by Moorhouse's unique syntax, she represents a particular period - the post WW1 optimism, as well as the strange condition of being a young Australian woman desperate to find a place and identity for herself outside of Australian shores (I would argue that this strange condition persists among many ...more
A delightful surprise. Moorhouse has created a great character and evoked the spririt of the era with panache. Both Edith's strengths and faults invite the reader to consider their own development of the self. I'm sorry I didn't read this when it was first published. Will definitely read the other books in the series. I seem to have fallen into an era with my reading of late. This is the fourth book this year dealing with the period 'between the wars' and I am thoroughly enjoying it.
Chris Walker
Against the backdrop of the history of the League of Nations and littered with real persons from those times I found this book quite interesting in capturing the sentiments and atmosphere of those days. However, the heroine Edith can be quite irritating and her acts of heroism I felt were a little contrived. I was fearful for Ambrose and his predilections in those rising fascist times in which the book is set but it is Edith who turns out to be abused for embracing alternative practises and who ...more
3+ stars. I enjoyed bits of this book enormously, I was even compelled to read parts to my partner. At other times Edith could become quite irritating.
I also couldn't help but read her as a metaphor for Australia emerging onto the international scene. I will be reading the other two books.
Jane Messer
I've come to this novel, the first of the trilogy long after it was first published. It's a commitment, it is a long book, but well worth the time you will spend in its world.

Edith Campbell Berry is an intriguing mix of zealot, innocent, accidental vamp and serious young woman deeply committed to world peace in the years leading to the Second World War when no one had any idea that that war was going to come. Much of the novel's undercurrent is concerned with manners, rituals and diplomacy - in
Francene Carroll
This is a thick book and I got through it fast, meaning that there must have been something about it that compelled me to keep reading, but I can't quite put my finger on what this was. I'm giving it 3 stars for the fact that I didn't have to force myself to read it.

Before I go any further though I have to get this off my chest: Edith Campbell Berry is annoying.

As a young Australian woman embarking on a new life in Geneva with the League of Nations, her story is an interesting one and Moorhouse
Book Club reading for April / May Grand Days, by Frank Moorhouse seemed to me to be a huge task and having not read any Frank Moorhouse books before I approached the task with some trepidation - 718 pages! The original book was 1st published in 1993 and this edition 2011.

The main character, Edith Campbell Berry, is an is an idealistic young Australia joining the diplomatic corp in Europe following World War 1. On a train from Paris to Geneva, Edith Campbell Berry meets Major Ambrose Westwood in
Margaret Small
Even though Annabel Crabbe, who I admire greatly, apparently likes the central character, Edith Campbell Berry, I don't much, although she's given me a lot to think about. At the beginning of the book Edith, who is on her way to Switzerland to join the League of Nations seems to be trying to live her life by Rules. Thankfully she throws them off fairly quickly. She starts an affair with the very first man she meets, and that turns out badly, mainly for him. Encouraged by her friends, she engages ...more
I wanted to read this book because it is a favourite of the political journalist Annabel Crab and I am a fan of her so even though this is an historical fiction novel I decided to give it a go. It was fantastic and just like Annabel Crab I too would like to be tha main protagonist, Edith Campbell Berry. I loved the fact that this was an historical novel that had some historical 'facts' at the end and a list of the characters and who was REAL and who was imaginary. Well done Frank Moorhouse! When ...more
Rob Walter
This is a really wonderful book. There's a clarity and precision to the prose which I haven't seen in any other Australian novel. Too often Australian writers aim for the vernacular and use a style that tries to imitate speech. Moorhouse, on the other hand, seems to acknowledge that written fiction has its own discourse and trusts that an Australian style will emerge without having to reach for it. Consequently we get a lucid description of events and a wonderful insight into the mind of the pro ...more
Patrick Lenton
'Grand Days' is one of my favourite books in the world. The protagonist, Edith is this wonderful character and I found myself able to live inside her head quite comfortably. The fact that it's all set around the creation of The League of Nations is fascinating in itself, and the touches of authenticity that Moorhouse provides - jargon, drinks popular at the time, social mores, all help flesh out the feeling of a momentous time and place in history.
Martha Skelley
What a read, eh? I picked this book up while traveling in Australia and greatly enjoyed most of it. A reader must enjoy political policy jargon and a long read. Towards the end my patience started to run thin, but Moorehouse redeemed himself with the last 80 pages or so. I now look forward to reading the rest of the books in the trilogy.
Feb 02, 2013 MFC rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in sagas
Recommended to MFC by: Mark
Enjoyed this - but definitely a 'holiday' read with 700 pages. I loved learning about the League of Nations, the politics of it all and buracracy the same as anywhere. Edith is delightful - especially the opening chapter where she has her personal rules of conversation and etiquette which she designed for herself in her passage to Europe via ship. Interesting as an Australian University educated woman in that era - and the social scene (although quite spiced up by Moorhouse). I keep imagining he ...more
I think it is actually worth 3 1/2 stars. The history of the League of Nations is fascinating, however, Moorhouse is a wonderful writer but I do think he was far too long-winded at times (a la Rushdie), especially with his vast descriptions of Edith's rules for living. I think it was because of his verbosity that I have probably unfairly judged Edith at pompous,rigid and "holier than thou" despite the sexuality. I also think Moorhouse would like his readers to see Edith as an adventurous, indepe ...more
Overall this book dragged and was a struggle to finish - way too long, although parts were interesting and hopes raised but then it settled back into speed reading again
Rob Carseldine
I love the character of Edith Campbell-Berry and Frank Moorhouse's writing. He writes characters not so much plots. It seems to me that the plot is there to support the characters. It also covers a part of history (The League of Nations era) that I had not read about previously. This is a long book at about just under pages and I could understand some readers finding it slow going. However, if you like great writing and strong characters this is a gem.
Interesting and thought provoking - this first book in the Edith Trilogy, follows Edith, a young Australian, to her first posting with the League of Nations in Geneva. I haven't read any Moorhouse and found his style very interesting - mainly character based (rather than plot driven) and he manages to capture the feel of the 1920's very well. a great one to get your teeth into over the christmas break!
Interesting and thought provoking - this first book in the Edith Trilogy, follows Edith, a young Australian, to her first posting with the League of Nations in Geneva. I haven't read any Moorhouse and found his style very interesting - mainly character based (rather than plot driven) and he manages to capture the feel of the 1920's very well. a great one to get your teeth into over the christmas break!
Kim Elith
This is an interesting and intriguing book - I didn't know anything about the era to the League beyond a few key dates learnt in Modern History - Edith Berry is an endearing protagonist - it's a coming of age story for both her and the rapidly changing world. Loved the parallels between her public and personal worlds. Looking forward to reading the next in the series.
Michael Pennington
Aside from some poignant passages on being an Australian abroad, over long.
A most enjoyable book. Although there were some sections (not too many) that were a bit slow, I really came to love Edith Campbell Berry, and really want to know how she got on after the book finished.
I enjoyed this book, even though Moorhouse's female central character at times didn't ring true. The history was fantastic and quite motivating. The last days in Geneva are exhilerating.
Marcia Di iulio
Thoroughly enjoyed this book, albeit a bit longwinded and rambly at times. Loved the characters and their lives tied in with historical fact. Looking forward to Dark Palace.
I really wanted to enjoy this book more than I did. The story was quite interesting but I found the prose tiresome. I think I'll give it a few years and then try again.
Catherine Lockwood
Didn't enjoy this as much as I'd hoped main character is very self involved and boring more inner reflection than storyline than need be. Not my type of book.
Another huge book following the main chracter and her new job in The League of Nations in Geneva. Well written and historically interesting.
Tracy Macmillan
A great historical fiction with an intriguing narrator. I look forward to reading how both plot and the protagonist develop in the next novel.
Dec 12, 2012 Marion added it
Quirky entertaining characters. Fascinating history of the League of Nations between the two world wars. A Great read.
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