Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Gang of Four” as Want to Read:
Gang of Four
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Gang of Four

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  361 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
The ‘gang of four’, Isabel, Sally, Robin and Grace, are all fifty-something, successful … and restless. They have been close friends for almost two decades, supporting each other through personal and professional crises — parents dying, children leaving home, job changes, political activism, diets and really bad haircuts.

Isabel makes the first move, taking a year away from
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 9th 2005 by Transita (first published 2004)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Gang of Four, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Di As a Kiwi living in Europe, the voice seemed familiar in terms of similar culture and etc, but also as a woman of a similar age. Having experienced,…moreAs a Kiwi living in Europe, the voice seemed familiar in terms of similar culture and etc, but also as a woman of a similar age. Having experienced, or been on the edge of similar stories too.
I think her voice is international, probably. What a writer!
It blew me away. Brilliantly written, I thought.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
May 23, 2012 Marianne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gang of Four is the first novel by Australian author Liz Byrski. The Gang referred to is Isabel, Grace, Robin and Sally, all in their fifties (or close to it), professional, responsible, mature women with careers, some with families, who meet regularly for lunch. The status quo is upset by Isabel who, after her 34th traditional turkey and pudding Christmas catering for her extended family, decided she needs a year off. Despite a mixed reaction from the Gang of Four and her family, she determines ...more
Apr 05, 2011 Sara rated it really liked it
I thought this book was going to be another Belly Dancing for Beginners. Four women; Isabel, Sally Robin and Grace decide to do something different with their lives. However, each of them head off in a different direction and each chapter focuses on their progress. I couldn't put this book down. Each chapter made me want to immediately start reading the next one. An unexpected ending. Highly recommended.
Jan 30, 2013 Kathy rated it it was ok
The “gang of four” - Isabel, Sally, Robin and Grace have been close friends for almost two decades. Now, they are all fifty-something, successful, and restless.

I’m not a fan of the” mid-life-journey-of-the successful-woman-to-discover-herself” genre, mainly because the whole concept seems so contrived. This particular novel has the usual ingredients:
• The women concerned are successful business and professional women;
• They have no financial worries;
• Their journey involves actually physically t
Jun 17, 2013 Josie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In an attempt to move some heafty books off my TBR pile, plus as this is a good tie in to Australian Women Writers Challenge, I plucked this off my bookshelf 2 days ago and plowed my way through the 400 pages.

Firstly I had two issues with the book:
- 280 or so pages in, the character "Lisa" is all of a sudden being called by the name "Sophie". I flicked back through the earlier chapters to see if I had missed something (it was 4am at the stage, so very likely that I had missed the reason for the
Feb 24, 2008 Pam rated it it was amazing
Shelves: transita
GENRE/PUB DATE/# OF PGS: Women's Fiction/2004/426 pgs
TIME/PLACE: Present/Australia
CHARACTERS: Four friends: Isabel, Sally, Robin & Grace
FIRST LINES: There was a moment when she first woke, a moment free of any sense of the day ahead; a moment before she opened her eyes & when all she could feel was the warmth of the early sunshine falling on her face through the open curtains, & the soft heavi
Oct 03, 2009 Debbie rated it it was ok
Based on 4 50 something female friends who each leave their regular life in search of retreat and adventure. Isobel the main charactor somehow persuades her husband to give his blessing for a solo backpack in Europe lasting 1 year. This provides the catayst for her friends to start their own journey. I doubt there would be many husbands so generous as Isobels, and this lets the book down.
Following the journey of four women spoiled the book for me as their were too many charactors, unrealstic pl
Sep 24, 2011 Kate rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, 2010
Might have to wait for 10 or so years and read this again. This author has a huge following, but perhaps for women in a different phase of life than mine right now. That said. I read this immediately after finishing the amazing "A thousand splendid suns", so I found the gripes of this group of successful, free women fairly trivial and insignificant.
Kerri Jones
Mar 04, 2014 Kerri Jones rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was exactly the book I needed right now. I loved loved loved it. It resonated with me and now I want all my besties to read it.
Aug 19, 2013 Dightie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First timed I've cried while reading!!
Oct 02, 2016 Meryl rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Such a wonderful tale of women belonging to each other, but finding themselves as mature women. A few sad moments. Lots of emotions. Beautifully written by Liz Byrski.
Sep 24, 2016 MW rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read for anyone wanting, or going through changes in your life. The characters are genuine and believable! There is something beautiful about the lives of four women being opened up to expose raw nerves, real experiences that draw you in and that you can relate to. The author writes so simply and eloquently , giving you enough info and the right time and leaving you hanging in there to the very end! Must read.
Aug 25, 2008 LindyLouMac rated it it was amazing

Another ‘Prime of Life’ novel from Transita, but this one was originally published in Australia. It is actually one of my favourites from this publishing house.
‘Gang of Four’ is what Isabel, Sally, Robin and Grace close friends for nearly twenty years call themselves. They are it is no surprise women of a certain age and are all somehow restless within their lives.
The novel follows the four very different stories of the protagonists as they set about findi
Janet Atkinson
Sep 17, 2016 Janet Atkinson rated it it was amazing
Love this author. Aussie chic lit relationship stuff for the over 50's, niche market, great read!!
Susan Barnes
Jan 01, 2015 Susan Barnes rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
I enjoyed Liz Byrski's story, Gang of Four. It revolves around four women, Isabel, Sally, Robin and Grace who are friends in their early fifties. Their lives have become repetitive and limited but it is not until Isabel makes a break, that the others are embolden to make changes themselves.

I found the four characters, although in a similar life stage, to be believable and different enough from each other, to make it easy to keep track of them as the story jumped from one character to another, ov
Oct 04, 2009 Linda rated it liked it
Shelves: bookclub
Gang of Four is the story of a group of female friends, probably in their 50s, who all face changes in their lives. For some of the women, they simply say "enough" and change their lives. Others come to that realisation after other events occur.

I called this a little like Harry Potter for Middle-Aged (Middle Class) Women, because the things that appeal to this reader group are all included: taking off and travelling for a year, giving up responsibilities or pressured careers to find a new, happi
Jun 19, 2010 Maggie rated it liked it
Despite not particularly enoying Belly Dancing for Beginners, I rather liked this one. I only read it because I had purchased both books at the same time from the local book exchange. Sure, this book still has the same formula - a group of women (usually 3 or 4) ALL have remarkable life changing events ALL at the same time, and ALL usually end up so much wiser by the end of the book. Well, that's all there in this one too but in a much more enjoyable format than the Belly dancing book. I wont ...more
Julie McSorley
Mar 03, 2014 Julie McSorley rated it really liked it
This 'right of passage for fifty-something women' story is a much better read than it sounds, although it will probably appeal to women who can identify with the main characters - the four fifty-something women who have befriended each other through the trials and tribulations of work, marriage, kids and grandkids. Isabel has a Eureka moment one Christmas morning: there has to be more to life and she wants to find it. Considering that the story itself is a gentle, domestic tale, Liz Byrski has ...more
Jun 05, 2014 Cathy rated it liked it
Enjoyable, easy read. Kind of just your average girlfriends story. Four fifty something women, all at different crossroads and all feeling rather "stuck" in their current lives, each set out on different paths and are brought back together due to tragedy.
Not exactly original, but quite touching nonetheless. Being of the same age, I easily
identified with each of the characters in many ways and share their longing for something different, an escape, if you will, from the expectations and demands o
Sharon Jarvis
Jun 18, 2015 Sharon Jarvis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great read! Thoroughly enjoyed this heart warming story of four women friends who undergo a series of changes to their lives and how they continue to support each other even though they go separate ways for nearly 12 months. While the story starts in Perth, Western Australia there are a range of different locations including America and Europe which adds interest to the story and the characters. I haven't read any of Liz Byrski's novels before and it certainly won't be the last. Highly ...more
Jan 22, 2009 Trisha rated it it was amazing
This book would rate as one of my favourites for the year. Tells of the lives of 4 women - Robin, Grace, Sally and Isabel, who come to a turning point in their lives, when Isabel decides to take time out from her family, job. etc. and travel overseas to find out more about her ballerina mother.
The personalities make you ponder on if their ways are akin to your own.
Such a well written, heart wrenching story and have now purchased a copy of this book for myself.
Jennifer Rolfe
Oct 18, 2014 Jennifer Rolfe rated it it was amazing
This was a great book about 4 women's journeys through the challenging late 50's/60's or as the astrologers would say - their second Saturn return. I found the book so credible in all aspects of each of their journeys toward understanding aspects of themselves. They all went through incredible transformations. Such a great read.
Dec 25, 2009 Wendy rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book,so many interesting parts. I loved the descriptions of their travel, their letters and their friendship.

My copy had a HUGE error in it, I am astonished that it got past the publishers/editors. I thought maybe I'd gotten it wrong but I checked a few times and it's definately a mistake.

Jan 05, 2013 Catherine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookcrossing
The interwoven stories of four friends whose lives change in the course of a year. The reasons for each woman getting away are clear and easy to have sympathy with, but some of the things that happen to them during the year are less credible: it has a first novel feel about it, even though it isn't. Still, it is an enjoyable novel that certainly fits the Transita stable.
Dec 07, 2013 Yvonne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good holiday read. Real chic-lit. It reminded me of 'Eat pray love' to some degree, as four middle-aged women friends take time off to examine their pasts and come to terms with their lives. Through their new experiences all are changed in some way.

Shirley Mytnowych
Oct 14, 2015 Shirley Mytnowych rated it liked it
A good story about four 50 something women friends who decide to take a year off for themselves. They each go on separate journeys. This book would probably be most appreciated by 50 something female readers such as myself.
Feb 19, 2012 Senga rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
Liz Byrski does an excellent job creating believeable, likeable characters in this "coming-of-age second time around" novel. Easy to read as well as easy to love, women over the age of 40 will find something to identify with. Highly recommended.
Jill Emery
Feb 06, 2016 Jill Emery rated it liked it
I'm 55, it's Christmas and I've just finished reading this book. Liz Byrski has nailed this story so well that I'm tempted not to be here next Christmas either. It took me a while to get into the characters, but each has their own story about finding themselves and I liked them all.
Susie Cass
Sep 02, 2015 Susie Cass rated it liked it
The beginning had great potential, but the middle dragged A LOT and by the end I was over the four main characters and wanted them to stop whining.
Dec 18, 2014 Donna rated it really liked it
I'm recommending this book to all my female friends. It's a story of four friends & their personal journeys over a period of one year. I found it both thought provoking & moving.
Sep 02, 2015 Susin rated it liked it
Great book - took a while to get into but gets much more interesting after the first few chapters. Great one to read while travelling.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • House for all Seasons
  • Salvation Creek
  • The Missing
  • Tiddas
  • Reading By Moonlight: How Books Saved A Life
  • Mr Chen's Emporium
  • The Celebrated Cases of Sherlock Holmes
  • The Beekeeper's Secret
  • There Should Be More Dancing
  • The Life and Many Deaths of Harry Houdini
  • Breaking The Drought
  • The Mothers' Group
  • Shiver
  • All Together Now
  • Wattle Creek
  • The Maxwell Sisters
  • Looking for Andrew McCarthy
  • The Sunnyvale Girls
Liz Byrski is a writer and broadcaster with more than 40 years experience in the British and Australian media. She is the author of eleven non-fiction books and five novels, and her work has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines.

In the nineties Liz was a broadcaster and executive producer with ABC Radio in Perth and later an advisor to a minister in the Western Aust
More about Liz Byrski...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »