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The Country Girls (The Country Girls Trilogy #1)

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  1,227 ratings  ·  116 reviews
The story of Cait and Baba and their escape from countryside and convent to the alluring crowds and lights and noise of Dublin. The author also wrote Johnny I Hardly Knew You, The Love Object and Other Stories and A Scandalous Woman and Other Stories.
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Published November 30th 1975 by Penguin Books (first published 1960)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Paul
Sep 10, 2011 Paul rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: novels
A beautiful probably-autobiographical wee slip of a novel which reads more like a memoir about two Irish girls between the ages of 14 and 18 in which nothing much happens except ordinary poor country life stuff, the girls being bored witless and trying to grow up, the girls being righteously disgusted about what's on offer in the back of the Irish beyond in the early 50s before Elvis and rock & roll rewrote the rules, the girls putting up with drunk parents, bitter adults and useless boys. C ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Mar 05, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: 1001-core, series
First published in 1960, this is the first novel of Ireland-born novelist Edna O'Brien (born 1930). This is also Book 1 of her trilogy called the same, The Country Girls Trilogy. The other books are entitled The Lonely Girl (1962) and Girls in Their Married Bliss (1964). After the publication of the third book, all of them were banned in the repressive Ireland in the 60's because of the frank portrayal of the sex lives of the characters. Well, there is nothing frank in the first book except that ...more
matt

At first, I didn't think very much of The Country Girls. It's sort of your standard coming of age story, the locus here being female and Irish and from a rural, rather down-at-hell background.

O'Brien, who admittedly wrote under the inspiration of Dubliners, said herself that the novel came almost as if unbidden. She said something to the effect that her hand wrote it, she just guided the pen. Very interesting not only to hear this, which has to indicate something really important and personal an
...more
Elizabeth Quinn
For the longest time, I didn't get Edna O'Brien. Her writing was so highly praised, but I couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about. Her characters were all so repressed and their interactions so brittle that I found her stories difficult to get into and generally boring. But as I embarked on my ongoing Irish tear, I was determined to try again. This time I had no trouble becoming interested in Kate and her childhood friend Baba or their lives in rural Ireland, in convent school and in Dub ...more
Vanessa Wu
I have been listening to Edna O'Brien read the unabridged version of this novel. It is quite short. She reads it in a state of holy awe, as if she is filled with wonder at the world. This very much suits the narrative, which tells of the unholy dramas that befall a fourteen-year-old Catholic girl in a little Irish town. It is told in unadorned, elegant English. There is a purity about it, which means you have to quieten your mind and let Edna's voice fill up your senses in order to appreciate it ...more
Hanne
I love O’Brien’s writing. She writes with such vivid imagery, it is impossible not to see Ireland while you are reading it. This story is set in rural western Ireland, county Clare (or Limerick perhaps) going by places mentioned in the book, a place I spent some time in the past. In fact I was one of “these eejits who come over to the Burren to look at flowers.”

And yet, though some of the descriptions make my mind go on holiday and make me long for a walk in the Irish countryside, most of what i
...more
Núria
'Las chicas de campo' es una novelita de Edna O'Brien, que causó bastante revuelo en la Irlanda natal de la autora en el momento de su publicación, porque habla sin tapujos de cosas como el despertar de la sexualidad feminina o de relaciones de adolescentes con hombres mayores casados. Pero supongo que tampoco ayuda que haya padres borrachos y ausentes, madres presumidas y vanidosas, monjas estrictas y crueles, etc. Dicho así parece que el libro sea un melodrama bastante insufrible, pero es todo ...more
Nina
This is like vintage chick lit. It's adorable.

I expected something much different - something slow and cautious and maybe a bit boring - but this was surprisingly pleasant, and read surprisingly quickly. With short sentences, a supple storyline and a meagre 250 pages, it draws you in and spits you out in a couple hours.
It is slow, but it's a warm, cosy, sad kind of slowness. It's a story of nostalgia and loneliness and growing up, but it's undramatic and subdued, and even the meanness and carele
...more
Trisha
When The Country Girls (1960), The Lonely Girl (1962), and Girls in Their Married Bliss (1964) were published they were promptly condemned by the Catholic Church in Ireland, and banned by the Irish Censorship Board. Most likely because of what this trilogy had to say about the truly dismal lives of girls who grew into womanhood under the shadow of a darkly repressive church and a rural culture filled with narrow-minded ignorance, mistrust and helplessness. Nevertheless, today Edna O’Brien is reg ...more
Kirsten

I really, really enjoyed reading this book. I think the most delicious aspect of it is that O’Brien marries intimate and personal details of a girl’s early teenhood in the Irish countryside with the horribly dark realities of human existence. Furthermore, O’Brien does this very subtly. She describes the girl, Kaithleen, getting out of bed in the early mornings and seeing frost on the hedgerows outside, and skimming the cream off a bucket of milk to put in a glass bottle to take to a best friend’
...more
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This is one of those literary books that I appreciate, but that never really grabbed my attention. It's so similar to my reaction to Now in November, also a book I was hoping to really like, that comparing the two is the only way I can explain it. Both are short but well-written literary books with a strong sense of place, grounded in the natural world--the Irish setting here is particularly vivid and beautifully described, both visually and culturally, and I enjoyed all the little household det ...more
Cathy
Feb 04, 2008 Cathy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes a good read
What a sad, gorgeous book this turned out to be. It follows young Caithleen and her best friend/bitterest enemy Baba from their rural adolescence to a convent school, and then on to big, bad Dublin to make their way as young women.

Their small town is portrayed as heartbreakingly beautiful, but the people are ugly -- Caithleen's alcoholic father, the creepy inkeeper and would-be poet who pursues her, and Baba's beautiful addled mother. O'Brien is a powerful descriptor of both the physical world a
...more
Piperitapitta
La strada che va in città.

È quella che percorrono - non solo fisicamente - Caithleen e Baba per evadere dalla cattolica campagna irlandese e arrivare fino a Dublino.
Caithleen, capelli ramati e occhi verdi, introversa e romantica, e la sua amicanemica Baba, taglio sbarazzino e capelli scuri, esuberante e provocatoria, figlia di un ubriacone l'una e dello stimato veterinario del paese l'altra, rappresentano le due anime irrequiete della stessa Irlanda che, agli albori degli anni Sessanta, intrappo
...more
Kristel
The story of a friendship between two country girls as they enter adolescence in Ireland in the time period after WWII. Kate Brady and Baba Brennen are friends. Kate’s father is an alcoholic and Baba’s father is a veterinarian. Kate is poor and earns a scholarship to a Catholic school. They go together to school where there friendship is strained but then Baba wants them to get kicked out so they are expelled and leave for life in the city.

I actually enjoyed this story. It reminded me of Angela
...more
Karen
The Country Girls sent shock waves through rural Ireland when it was published in 1960. Across the sea, London was about to enter the Swinging Sixties but in Eire, sex was seldom mentioned openly and especially not when it involved unmarried girls. Edna O’Brien’s novel about two girls who leave their convent upbringing and small village life in search of life and love in city, was castigated for daring to break the silence. O’Brien, who was living in London at the time, found her novel banned in ...more
Blue Willow
Nel 1960, quando fu pubblicato nella cattolicissima Irlanda, questo libro vennne bruciato sui sagrati delle chiese. Quei tempi per fortuna sono passati e questo libro ha perso certamente molto del suo potere di suscitare scandalo, ma a rimanere invece, dopo cinquanta anni, è la freschezza della scrittura di Edna O'Brien, così brava a descrivere l'amicizia delle giovani "ribelli" Kate e Baba, amiche-nemiche inseparabili, decise a godersi tutto il meglio della vita e ad abbandonare l'aria immobile ...more
Lightblue
La mia è una voce fuori dal coro perchè questo romanzo non mi è piaciuto. Mi è sembrato quasi inconsistente nella sua mancanza di trama, tanto da non riuscire ad affezionarmi alle due giovani protagoniste. La loro ricerca di emancipazione non mi ha convinto e il finale così troncato, praticamente tagliato con l'accetta mi sa troppo di espediente commerciale. Dubito che completerò la trilogia.
Elalma
Sicuramente mi sfuggiranno molte sottigliezze, ma l'ho trovato troppo scontato e irritante per poterlo apprezzare appieno. Ciononostante l'ho letto volentieri.
Frank
Caithleen is a bit of a wimp, brow-beaten as she is by her best friend, Baba, and under a cloud of physical and emotional terror from her alcoholic father. Her one outlet is a fantastic (as in "fantasy") relationship with an older man, a neighbour, "Mr. Gentleman". Still, O'Brien's prose is compeling, and I've started on the next volume in the trilogy.

Reading these was brought on by seeing an interview with the now 79-year-old O'Brien on Gay Byrne's programme on RTÉ; she has a new play in produ
...more
Stephanie "Jedigal"
Okay, this was strange. I liked the story and characters, but again, I am apparently much more plebeian than I like to think, because this book too went right over my head. At least, whatever makes it worthy of special acclaim goes right over my head. To me, just a good story. I do note that my sense of Irish history is woefully lacking, being a plebeian American and all, so maybe if I were Irish this would seem more significant to me, as it might be a great reflection on a certain part of their ...more
LaViejaPiragua
Edna O’Brien causó un buen escándalo en la Irlanda rural de 1960 cuando publicó su primera novela, “Las chicas de campo”. Se trataba del primer intento literario de superar el ambiente claustrofóbico y ultra religioso que se vivía en el país por aquel entonces; cuando el párroco de su pueblo compró varios ejemplares de la novela y los quemó en plena calle no hizo sino consolidar su éxito y de paso convertir la novela de O’Brien en mito.

Desde el punto de vista estrictamente literario, “Las chicas
...more
Tony
THE COUNTRY GIRLS. (1960). Edna O’Brien. ****.
This was O’Brien’s first novel, and the first of the subsequent “The Country Girls Trilogy.” Since her autobiography, “Country Girl,” was just released, I thought it would be a good idea if I read her first effort. She admits that this novel is autobiographical, though she has changed enough to make it an original work of fiction. The novel itself was the subject of a great deal of controversy when it issued. It was condemned from the pulpit, and, in
...more
Hulda
This is a little gem.

My mother's been trying to get me to read Edna O'Brien for years, and I'm ecstatic I finally did. Caithleen is a fresh, yet complex protagonist, her friend Baba is one of the least likable characters I've encountered in a long time, and they both come alive so distinctly through the novel. Several times I found myself laughing out loud, and the last 40 or so pages were positively thrilling - I could hardly put the book down to go teach my class.

"I cried on the bed for a lo
...more
Ajporter
If this is Edna O'Brien's first published novel, then I certainly cannot wait to read her other works because this was absolutely thrilling from start to finish.

The story of Kate and Baba is more than a traditional coming of age tale; this is the story of relationships, friendships and the quest to be content with oneself in life and the world. From the Irish countryside to the bright lights of Dublin itself, these two young girls go on their own paths and begin to find their own identities and
...more
Dree
A tough one to rate. A very easy read, actual would be fine for high school.

This coming-of-age story features two girls, Caitleen and Baba. They have known each other for most of their lives, and Baba has always been a bit of a bully. When they go to a convent school together (Cait gets a scholarship), Baba decides they are best friends. And she continues to Bully her friend into doing what she (Baba) wants.

Cait is a hardworking, kind, sweet girl who is also not bright or brave enough to put Ba
...more
Claudia Sesto
"Due sciocche ragazze di campagna alla conquista della grande città".
Un romanzo che quando uscì nel lontano 1960, nell'Irlanda bigotta e cattolicissima, creò molto scalpore, oggi non è niente di rivoluzionario, sono due ragazze che vogliono vivere semplicemente libere da tabù e costrizioni la loro adolescenza, i loro primi amori e la loro sessualità.
Sono due ragazze completamente diverse: una Baba, scaltra, esuberante e sfrontata che spesso ridicolizza e offende Caithleen, intelligente e dolce
...more
Ilaria
Purtroppo una delusione...

Primo di una trilogia, Ragazze di campagna è il primo libro che l'autrice Edna O'Brien, scrittrice irlandese nata nel 1930, ha scritto dietro richiesta della sua casa editrice. Pubblicato nel 1960, quando uscì dette enorme scandalo visti i temi trattati dalla scrittrice, ovvero il diritto di una nuova generazione di donne (la sua generazione) di vivere e parlare liberamente della propria sessualità e complice l'ambiente fortemente cattolico dell'epoca, il libro suscitò
...more
Katie Grainger
The Country Girls is the story of Caithleen and Babs best friends in rural Ireland growing up in a dull boring little town. Life changes for Caithleen when on the same day she wins a scholarship to a new School but loses her mother in a boating accident.

Babs and Caithleen then move onto the covent and after this Dublin. What is fascinating of this novel is that it was written in the 60's in what would have been an incredibly strict Catholic Ireland. Indeed the book (which is the first of a tril
...more
Book Wormy
The Country Girls Edna O'Brien
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Set in Ireland in the 1950's this is the coming of age story of 2 Irish Country Girls Caithleen and Baba.
The story covers their early life in the country and their escape to the bright lights of Dublin as teenagers.
I was really looking forward to an Aga Saga type story but sadly this didn't meet my expectations, perhaps as the first book in a trilogy the author viewed this more as an introduction to her characters that a fully developed stand alone book.
Tha
...more
Giulia Chevron
Dopo circa 40 pagine avrei voluto abbandonarlo, e credo di averlo finito solo per forza di inerzia, oltre che per un antipaticissimo desiderio di scrivere che non mi era piaciuto. Arrivare al finale, per altro scontatissimo, è stata una liberazione.
Non fraintendetemi: il romanzo è scritto bene, e se inquadrato all'interno del contesto socio-culturale entro il quale è germinato acquista un senso ben preciso, ma per me questo non è sufficiente. A me non è piaciuto per nulla, purtroppo.

Continua a l
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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
More about Edna O'Brien...

Other Books in the Series

The Country Girls Trilogy (4 books)
  • Girl With Green Eyes
  • Girls in Their Married Bliss
  • The Country Girls Trilogy
The Country Girls Trilogy In the Forest Country Girl House of Splendid Isolation Girl With Green Eyes

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