A Pagan Place
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A Pagan Place

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  127 ratings  ·  11 reviews
A PAGAN PLACE is Edna O'Brien's true novel of Ireland. Here she returns to that uniquely wonderful, terrible, peculiar place she once called home and writes not only of a life there--of the child becoming a woman--but of the Irish experience out of which that life arises--perhaps more pointedly than in any of her other works. This is the Ireland of country villages and bar...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 14th 2001 by Mariner Books (first published November 25th 1971)
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Best Irish Books
157th out of 356 books — 326 voters
The Country Girls Trilogy by Edna O'BrienHouse of Splendid Isolation by Edna O'BrienDown by the River by Edna O'BrienIn the Forest by Edna O'BrienTime and Tide by Edna O'Brien
Edna O'Brien
9th out of 37 books — 2 voters

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A. Mary Murphy
This is my favourite O'Brien. All of the earmarks of her fiction are here, but the protagonist, speaking to "You," so that the reader somehow is the protagonist in a masterful deflection, retains innocence in the midst of experience. The narrative has occasional leaps, appropriate to a child memory, and You is primarily an observer, a peripheral player. The only person in the family with a name is the older sister, Emma. The mother is "she," and the father is "he." In the midst of the events, fr...more
Too soon to write a review, I'm still in a daze from this book. A whole childhood is summoned from the intricate details of a girl's life and from the half-understood details of the lives of the adults around her. Stylistically, it really opened my eyes to the potential of second-person narration. (If that bugs you in the first few pages, stick with it, I promise it's worth it.)

My (Penguin) copy isn't listed on this site, so it might be worth quoting its back cover:

In a diary-like stream of imag...more
O'Brien is one of my favorite writers and this was the first book of hers that I read, the one that hooked me. The first 69 pages are some of the most amazing writing I’ve ever read. Narrative convention is completely dispensed with—and think how risky that is at the start of a novel—as we enter into some kind of stream of consciousness rendering of childhood memories, not chronologically remembered, but jumping all over the place and taking in events of personal, family, village, and national s...more
I read The Country Girls a long time ago so had an idea what to expect from Edna O'Brien. This is superb though - a cross between Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, A Child's Christmas in Wales and The Thorn Birds. A brilliant evocation of growing up in rural Ireland around the war years - no private cars, no private telephones, horse rides into the village, making do and mending and catholic guilt by the ton. Written in the second person - which is very very unusual (the main character is a...more
Edna O'Brien certainly deserves more recognition than she gets. This book is excellent. Stream of consciousness from a narrator that is at once talking to the main character about her childhood life in the Ireland of country folk, small town conventions, and such and is the stream of consciousness of the main character. Jumps all over the place just as one's thoughts do when young (and not so young actually!).
Casey Wolf
This is a reread. God she is good! Once I get over the fact that this is not a novel but, the first half, anyway, a stream of consciousness (but a LUCID and easily and enjoyably followed one) I settle into the sheer pleasure of it. The first 80-some pp are a child's eye view of life in Ireland in the 60s (50s?). Brings [Portrait of the Artist:] as a Young Man to mind in some ways.
It took me a while to get into this novel - second person, stream-of-consciousness narration, which is initially quite episodic - but I'm very glad to have stuck it out. Breathtakingly sensory, corporeal portrait of a rural Irish girlhood.
A great book about life in Ireland. The ways of thinking of many an Irishman were brought out in this book. I was drawn into the book and loved how the perspective of the younger daughter was brought out to the forefront.
Linda Campbell Franklin
Quite a wonderful read. Haven't read much of her work. Was struck by the "flash fiction" paragraphs here and there.
Written like daydreaming recollection, poetic, it tells the story of a girl growing up in rural Ireland.
Joycean stream of concious style story, told in second person narration. Simple language made beautiful.
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Goodreads Librari...: Alternative Book Cover 3 10 Jul 29, 2014 12:56PM  
Suoerb: her best novel 1 2 Jun 25, 2011 05:40PM  
Edna O’Brien (b. 1930), an award-winning Irish author of novels, plays, and short stories, has been hailed as one of the greatest chroniclers of the female experience in the twentieth century. She is the 2011 recipient of the Frank O’Connor Prize, awarded for her short story collection Saints and Sinners. She has also received, among other honors, the Irish PEN Award for Literature, the Ulysses Me...more
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