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The Realms of Gold

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  402 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
Drabble strikes gold with this novel about a famous archaeologist who is passionately in love with a married, slightly mad and very moral man. Alive with feeling and intelligence, endearing characters and feminist insights, this is one of the very best by an immensely gifted author.
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Published November 27th 1988 by Ivy Books (first published October 1st 1975)
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from The Children's book to the Realms of Gold one moves from Byatt to Drabble, one sister to another, forwards and backwards in time to the early 1970s. The title is a quote from Keats - On First Looking into Chapman's Homer (view spoiler) so we are primed with the idea of discovery and travel, this reinforced by the introduction of our main character Frances Wingate - a woman archaeologist in Italy on a lecture to ...more
Jul 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-20
I've always liked Margaret Drabble's work more than that of her (more successful?) sister, A.S. Byatt. This may be just a residual consequence of having "met" her while I was in college. She had been invited to lecture by someone in the English department, and at the time I used to hang out with some of the women in English lit, so we ended up after the lecture having tea and biscuits in Josephine's flat with the eminent speaker, who was totally charming.

I think the reason I enjoy her fiction is
Feb 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The beginning of my love affair with Margaret Drabble's work, and precedes her other opus: The Radiant Way. Realms of Gold is the kind of book that will always evoke the memory of where you were and what you were doing when you first read it. Intelligent writing and an intelligent but flawed heroine whose thoughts and corresponding narrative weave through her relationships and the British class/economic system of the later 20th century. This is not chick lit., it is Women's Literature!
May 16, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-lit, read-2015
Another book picked up on a whim in a second had shop. This was a slow burner - I found the first half hard work, and struggled to maintain an interest in the central character Frances Wingate, a divorced archaelogist. The next section, though bleak, was more interesting - an analysis of a bored housewife, Frances's distant cousin Janet and her life with an unsympathetic husband and her attempts to come to terms with this limited existence. This section also introduces us to Tockley, a town in t ...more
Apr 28, 2010 rated it liked it
It's been a long time since I've read "the Margarets" - Lawrence, Drabble, and Atwood.
This one was published in the '70's and shows it a bit. The main character, Frances Wingate, is
a well-known archaeologist yet also the mother of four children, divorced, and having a serious
affair with a married man. This is a character driven book. Drabble has made Frances an intriguing woman, and I enjoyed being inside her head. The plot meanders somewhat but does a good job of taking you through ordinary liv
Apr 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read nearly everything MB has written, she's like the book equivalent of sinking into a hot bath - stimulating but relaxing. All her books are very much of their time - this one written in the mid 1970s revolves around a divorced archeologist discovering her family roots.
Shellye M.
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I discovered Margaret Drabble when this book was assigned for a class my last quarter in college. And it was a transformative novel -- it was like pulling back a curtain and flooding a room with sunlight. Even though I'd read novels by women writers throughout my undergrad years, this was a serious, contemporary novel by a woman and featured a complex, distinctive, female protagonist and it ROCKED my world! When I talked to my professors about serious contemporary writers, here's who came up -- ...more
Oct 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hilarious. I think Margaret Drabble must have a lot of fun writing, as i just find her books so enjoyable in a quirky, off-beat sort of way.

This one written in 1975 is the story of Frances Wingate, an archaeologist with a major find under her belt, who seems to travel the world on speaking tours and conferences, leaving her 4 children behind to sort of fend for themselves. All very liberated woman stuff, but Frances still is hankering for more. How the author thinks of the odd situations Frances
Dec 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I adored this book in college and read it many times since. I especially appreciate Drabble's empathetic view of her characters and her juxtaposition of the beauty of the mundane with the difficulties of living in a modern world.
Sep 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
I discovered Drabble in the 1970s and read all her early books then. Loved them all--they were beautifully written women's fiction (though certainly not called that) that addressed the issues facing young married women and later women with children. Looking back I think hers were among the first really popular explorations of the politics of feminism in women's lives. In this novel starring archaeologist Frances Wingate, she presents a very capable woman who made a discovery early on and now tea ...more
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
Izlasīju nedaudz vairāk par 100 lpp.
Autore viennozīmīgi prot rakstīt, valoda baudāma, stāstījums saistošs un gribas lasīt vēl un vēl. Bet tie galvenie varoņi!!! Nu lai cik interesanti, man aptecējās dūša lasot galvenās varones amorālos spriedumus un rīcības un no tām izrietošās neticamās situācijas. Kkā pat negribējās lasīt līdz kādai agonijai tas viss tiks novests pirms apsolītajām laimīgajām beigām. Kopumā tas viss radīja ļoti savādu iespaidu. Bet es pilnīgi ticu, ka izlasot visu grāmatu, varb
Julie Barrett
Jun 30, 2016 rated it liked it
The realms of gold by Drabble Margaret
Story of a woman who after leaving her husband had tried different means to cope, drinking, pills, etc.
She should've socialized more...with her lectures she is able to travel a lot and carry on as if she's not married at all...
Like her career choice but not sure how she was able to do it with children and being married. so many struggles.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).

Annis Pratt
This is only one of Margaret Drabble's wonderfully detailed (often like the interior of a Dutch painting) and funnily conceived tragi-comic novels about life among intelligent women loving and living in England during the last decades of the twentieth century. These novels (see also The Middle Ground and The Radiant Way) have marvellous plots, a lot of deep thinking that only underlines her deft characterization. My all time favorite novels.
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Not quite perfect - the narrator stepped in too often, the plot was tidier than it needed to be - but pretty close. I loved Frances Wingate, her messy glamorous life, her family and lovers, but I love Margaret Drabble more, for writing something that feels more interesting and honest than anything I've read recently.
Jul 20, 2016 rated it liked it
The insights into domestic arrangements are often penetrating and enlightening. However, it was difficult to get a clear picture of the protagonist, Frances. From the beginning descriptions of her thoughts and actions, she seemed much older than she actually is. Her attraction to, and love for, Karel is not particularly believable.
Rachel Jones
Jun 09, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: i-gave-up
This was recommended to me by a The World According to Garp fan and I'm such a John Irving fiend that I thought for sure I'd love this novel.

I got 15 pages in and I had to give up. The never-ending neurotic inner monologue of an average, middle aged woman? Not exactly compelling material.
Feb 02, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: not-finished
I couldn't finish this book. Perhaps it was due more to the incredibly small type face than to the very slowly developing plot. Perhaps I'll try another day.
Sep 04, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it
Same isbn Penguin different cover
May 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Entertaining. Sometimes bogged down. Would like to read more by her. I didn't realize that she was AS Byatt's sister.
May 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful narrative that makes readers happy.
May 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
I've read most most of her books a very long time ago.....just remember enjoying them.
Aug 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: good-novel
Enjoyed this. It rings true and avoids the obvious. Also fun to read.
Apr 02, 2008 rated it did not like it
I haven't been able to finish it... it just doesn't move fast enough for me
Linda Curry
Oct 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Long book but very satisfactory

This book might not be everyone’s cup of tea but I liked it very much. Archaeology has always interested me, especially how an archaeologist lives. The characters in the book are related by profession, family, and locale. The story wanders through their lives slowly and with great honesty. There was no real plot, no adversary to dislike, nothing that usually drives a book.

If you enjoyed “Farm” or other books like that, you should like this one, too. It held my int
Aug 29, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jo Marie
Aug 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Maybe 3 1/2 stars. Took a long time to really get into this rather dense book with no chapters! It did become interesting finally and I'm glad I stayed with it. Almost a study of family relationships, kinships, and love.
The story of a successful, independent and self indulgent woman of the '70s. Loved the author's asides to the reader, though there weren't a lot of them. Made for a good discussion, but I will not be rushing off to the library to find another Drabble book.
Aug 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Slowly but interestingly unfolding story of life and career and love. We are who are natures say we are, a rather fatalistic view, and hardly fair.
Catherine  Mustread
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Mar 14, 2010
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Mar 12, 2012
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Dame Margaret Drabble was born in Sheffield in 1939 and was educated at Newnham College, Cambridge. She is the author of eighteen novels including A Summer Bird-Cage, The Millstone, The Peppered Moth, The Red Queen, The Sea Lady and most recently, the highly acclaimed The Pure Gold Baby. She has also written biographies, screenplays and was the editor of the Oxford Companion to English Literature. ...more
More about Margaret Drabble...
“Too much of the world was inhospitable, intractable... Why prove that it had ever once been green?” 4 likes
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