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A Pagan Place

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  317 ratings  ·  43 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 January 1st 1971)
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Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourtIn the Woods by Tana FrenchUlysses by James JoyceDubliners by James JoyceThe Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
Best Irish Books
546 books — 512 voters
The Country Girls Trilogy by Edna O'BrienA Pagan Place by Edna O'BrienHouse of Splendid Isolation by Edna O'BrienDown by the River by Edna O'BrienIn the Forest by Edna O'Brien
Edna O'Brien
37 books — 5 voters


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3.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  317 ratings  ·  43 reviews


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Amalia Gavea
Unfortunately, this one was a reading choice that failed to capture my attention...I was attracted by the title and the fact that I've always thought Edna O'Brien's writing would be ideal for me but this was a disaster...

In my opinion, there are many writers who succeeded in bringing the social and political issues in Ireland during the 30s and the 40s through interesting plots, memorable characters, and careful choices. This book only gave me melodramatic situations with a strange focus on sex,
...more
Natalia Bosques
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leoautoras
"Tu echabas de menos tu casa, añorabas cosas banales como las piedras del campo, y el viento y la forma en que te acariciaba el rostro y su rumor y también al ganado, siemre presente."
Fue mi primera experiencia con Edna y maravillosa!
(se me había pasado ponerlo por aquí)
Fernando Jimenez
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
En 'Un lugar pagano' Edna O'Brien vuelve al terreno de 'Las chicas de campo' para retratar la vida rural de la Irlanda de los años 30 y 40. La miseria, la represión religiosa o los deseos sexuales de la época son vistos a través de la protagonista, niña y adolescente a la que se dirige la narradora en una segunda persona cargada de lirismo y evocación.
SilviaG
En este libro, la autora irlandesa, nos cuenta su niñez en un pequeño pueblo de la isla. Y lo hace de una forma poco usual: el narrador le cuenta sus propias experiencias a la protagonista, es decir, a la escritora. Por eso, al principio es un poco difícil de seguir, y necesitas unas cuantas páginas para meterte en la historia. Además, la prosa es un tanto lírica, y la autora encadena temas en un mismo párrafo.
Con todo ello, puedo decir que el libro me ha gustado. Retrata muy bien la vida, la cu
...more
Marko
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
Steven
Apr 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels, irish
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
Neusovita
Aug 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: eire, feminis-me
Un 4 si no fuera por la segunda persona del singular que nunca acabará de convencerme.
Elia
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4,5
A. Mary
Mar 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: irish-novels
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
Chari
Sep 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
En realidad 2,5 de 5 estrellas. El estilo narrativo escogido por la grande dame de la literatura irlandesa de relatar en segunda persona durante todo el libro se me hizo algo cansino, parece que no es un método muy de mi agrado aún estando bien escrito.
Tabuyo
Dec 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
Me ha encantado la forma de escribir de la autora. Ha sido todo un descubrimiento.

Mi reseña: http://contandoteunlibro.blogspot.com...
Belensays
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brillante. Edna vuelva a retratar la vida rural irlandesa de la década de los 30. Vuelve a esos campos de Las chicas de campo. Me encanta como narra la espiritualidad católica y esa culpa que sienten (sentimos) todas las mujeres que hemos sido criadas en dicha religión.
Maliba
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recién aterrizada en Irlanda, leo esta obra de Edna O'Brien, muy conocida y valorada en el país. Me encanta leer novelas que hablan de los lugares que visito para hacerme una idea de esa sociedad en esta y otras épocas, y "Un lugar pagano" es un buen retrato de la realidad rural de los años treinta. Está bastante centrada en el papel que desempeñan las mujeres, visto a través de los ojos y las experiencias de una niña-adolescente. Me parece muy interesante cómo desgrana las tiranteces entre la r ...more
Travel Writing
I cannot recall ever disliking a book more. I trudged through with a staggering lack of enthusiasm.

Each (second person) address felt like nails on a chalkboard.

The dithering. The 4 entire blathering pages to say one thing. Then after 4 pages, the circling back around to tell it again – only with some inane character who now wants to say something, who wasn’t mentioned in the first four pages, but it takes 4 pages more to add this character’s utterance.

Painful beyond reason and I wouldn’t have
...more
Shiru
Oct 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A simple vista nos encontramos ante una historia aparentemente anodina, que se nos narra en segunda persona pero que poco a poco nos va hiriendo sin que apenas nos demos cuenta hasta llegar al final.


La novela en sí nos narra de forma autobiográfica los recuerdos de niñez de su infancia hasta su adolescencia, paseando por los secretos e historias de su familia. Todo ello en el marco de una Irlanda rural llena de nacionalismos de los años 40 y la desbordante influencia de la iglesia. Además, nos r
...more
Davidlodge82
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Novela que retrata la vida en Irlanda de los años treinta marcado por la religión y el devenir entre irlandeses e ingleses. También el problema del despertar sexual en una sociedad católica y como era vista por la familia.
Escrito como si fuera un monólogo dirigido a la hermana pequeña por un narrador que lo observa sin formar parte de la acción. Está estructurado en tres partes de unas 90 páginas sin capítulos lo cual hace complicado corte la lectura. La primera parte esta escrita como si se hu
...more
Elsa Lacruz
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un relato interesantísimo de la vida rural en Irlanda en los años 40. No conocía de nada a la autora y me ha encantado su prosa, aunque a ratos me ha costado un poco seguirle el ritmo a la narración en segunda persona. Parece que se atropella por contar la siguiente historia, lo cual le da un encanto extra, pero a la vez hace que parezca que no hay suficientes pausas para respirar.
#LeoAutorasOct
Antonio Ceté
Las primeras cien páginas me han costado un mundo porque a) está escrito en segunda persona y b) el ritmo es raro para leerlo en el metro. Luego tira paaaaaaarriba y he entrado y es muy bonito y una bajona terrible que es lo que corresponde a ser una preadolescente en la Irlanda de los años cuarenta, digo yo.
Barbara
Nov 11, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
Just a few pages in and already done trying to figure out who’s telling the story and who’s listening and why can’t O’Brien write complete, linear sentences so that one can get into the story. Once I’m hooked, I don’t mind all the mental gymnastics required but I have to have a reason to invest my time. I guess she’s just an acquired taste. ...more
Lucía Carabajal
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Te da golpes, unos como sutiles codazos y otros como con una tabla de madera. Queda grabado seguro, la inocencia en un mundo terrible te entristece ...pero la autora también sabe sacarte sonrisas. Lo recomiendo
Pip Jennings
50 Years ago I loved Edna O’Brien but I couldn’t get into this now.
Michael Forester
Nov 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
I decided to read 'A Pagan Place' a few weeks back when I realised I had read nothing by Edna O'Brien - an anomaly that, now corrected, leaves me wanting to read more of her work.

Some books have the power to freeze frame time. This book has the power to reverse it, to carry us back to an era long passed. Written an astonishing 45 years ago, it reads as vibrantly now in conjuring of the Ireland of the 1940s as it would have done when first written.

Edna O'Brien's is an Ireland of country charm a
...more
Ceelee Sunshine
Aug 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary-fiction
This is my first reading experience with Edna O'Brien and won't be the last! Being of Irish descent, I I was fascinated by her account of life in a small Irish town. At first I thought the narrator was talking to a child but as I went along, i realized the child was grown and I wondered why such a narrative with an adult, but I thought maybe it was for some purpose such as the woman being ill or in a coma. Now i realize the narrator was also the "You" as she was speaking to herself. Pretty amazi ...more
Marla
Aug 24, 2017 rated it liked it
This has to be one of the strangest styles for POV I've ever read, yet it was captivating as hell. DIdn't understand everything, but got into the "Irishness" of it.
Phil
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Lisa
Aug 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
It took work to follow the third-person narrative and to figure out who "he" and "she" referred to. But the work was rewarded by the rich and complex social issues relayed subtlety in the plot. The late 1930's/early 1940's was a difficult time in Ireland, particularly for women and people working in the fields. These hardships were told by the point of view of a girl becoming a woman in a creative and powerful way.
Laurie
Oct 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Karin A.
Nov 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-read
Loved this book. Love Edna O'Brien' s style of writing. This one was if a narrator told the story through a child's mind of what she saw and thought, the adult revisiting her childhood. It is a depiction of genuine Ireland of old but not so long ago,complete with emotions, suffering, cover-ups for mishaps, poverty, alcohol etc. Coming off age story for a young girl.
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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