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The Country Girls

(The Country Girls Trilogy #1)

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  3,190 ratings  ·  322 reviews
Meet Kate and Baba, two young Irish country girls who have spent their childhood together. As they leave the safety of their convent school in search of life and love in the big city, they struggle to maintain their somewhat tumultuous relationship. Kate, dreamy and romantic, yearns for true love, while Baba just wants to experience the life of a single girl. Although they ...more
Paperback, 175 pages
Published June 25th 2002 by Plume (first published 1960)
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3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,190 ratings  ·  322 reviews


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Nandakishore Varma
Warning: Possible spoilers. Though I don't think they will spoil the reading experience, if you are one of those people who wants to dive into a book without knowing anything of the story, it might be better to avoid this review.

Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.


This quote is taken from Frank McCourt’s memoir Angela's Ashes, but it is equally apt for this novel by Edna O’Brien.

If we look at Irel
...more
Paul Bryant
Sep 30, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Matt
Sep 09, 2011 rated it liked it

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
Wanda
I have absolutely no idea how to rate this book. Can I say that I enjoyed it? Yes and no. Can I say that I appreciated it? Yes indeed.

It was an important book for its time—published in 1960 and showing an Ireland that doesn’t exist anymore. One where the Catholic Church and patriarchy reigned supreme and women had extremely limited choices. You could get married or become a nun. That was pretty much it, at least for the country girls. Women weren’t admitted to be sexual beings and weren’t suppo
...more
Chrissie
I like Edna O'Brien's writing, lyrical is the perfect word to describe it. Good dialogs. Her characters become distinct.

The plot left me cold. Totally boring. Not only do you need good writing you need an interesting story for a novel to work. We follow two girls, Caithleen and Baba, 14 years of age when the book opens. Two country girls, as the title so aptly indicates. The setting is western Ireland, outside Limerick, the 1960s. This is a coming of age story, about friendship and blossoming i
...more
Andrea
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
NOTA FINAL: 4'5/5

Creo que si algo caracteriza a Las chicas de campo es su sencillez y singularidad. Y casi diría que es una novela entrañable. Entrañable (a pesar de algún que otro momento tirando a crudo), melancólica por momentos... Es una novela que hay que leer poniéndose en todo momento (y sí o sí) en la piel de las protagonistas: Caithleen y Baba (demasiado fan soy yo de este personaje). ¿Por qué? Pues para hacerse una idea de la sociedad irlandesa de los años 50. Pues digamos que hoy en d
...more
K.D. Absolutely
Dec 21, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  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
Vanessa Wu
Aug 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Hugo
Jan 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
O romance de estreia de Edna O'Brien, banido nos anos 60, conta a história de duas amigas de uma zona rural da Irlanda, Baba é tresloucada e Caithleen demasiado influenciável e inocente. Acompanhamos as raparigas na sua passagem pela escola de um convento e, mais tarde, a sua mudança para a auspiciosa cidade de Dublin. Acredito que este livro tenha muito de autobiográfico, li algures que a autora também foi educada num convento, onde se apaixonou por uma freira. Mesmo tendo em conta a grande inf ...more
Elizabeth Quinn
Nov 06, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Kirsten
Aug 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
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
Emma Flanagan
The Country Girls follows the story of Cait and Baba, from their childhood in rural County Clare and convent school to Dublin as they struggle to understand live and search for love.

Published in 1960 it was banned upon publication in Ireland for its portrayal of sex. In O’Briens home parish it was publicly burnt. In 1962 it won the Kingsley Amis Award.

The issues they face are as recognisable and relateable today as 50 yrs ago. Young girls today may know more about the biology then Cait and Baba
...more
Hanne
Dec 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
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
Yassin Häussler
Jul 02, 2018 rated it liked it
The Country Girls follows Cathleen and Baba, two Irish girls, who have grown up together, however as they leave the comfort of their small village and venture into the dark depths of the big city their friendship starts to crumble. Each chooses their own path in life, with Cate vowing for love, while Baba seeks adventure as a loner.

Just to keep in mind: We are 15-year-olds writing this review as a school project, but we have read the book and analyzed it’s pros and cons in school, with that in m
...more
Leonie
Jun 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Friendship, enmity, sexism, complicated relationships and all the other experiences that belong to growing-up – all in one book.

The Country Girls written by Edna O’Brien in the 1960s is probably the most hardcore realism we have ever read. The book is about two girls growing up in the Irish country side which is tainted by religion and sexism. We read this book in school and discussed it and here is our review on the book.
The main characters, Baba and Caithleen, have a hard time deciding if they
...more
Starfish
Jun 29, 2018 rated it liked it
“The Country Girls” is a beautifully written and very descriptive trilogy by Edna O’Brien. It was one of the first books about an independent female character, to be published (1960) in Ireland, criticizing the social issues and vulgar matters.

In the first book the main character, Caithleen Brady, talks about her childhood in retrospect. As she grows up, she has to deal with her alcoholic father, who she fears, and experiences grief, when her mother dies. The Brennan family takes care of her aft
...more
Saloni
Jun 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Irish girl meets world

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I would recommend this book for children from the age of fourteen to fifteen since it contains certain sexual innuendos and may have some swearing.

Country Girls, written by Edna O’Brien, is a coming of age story, which is a fiction book, full of drama and emotions and reflecting the oppression of women during the World War II in Ireland. It has a first-person narrator which is not necessarily a reliable source of information because the book is writ
...more
Oana Ciurdarean
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book. It's an easy read from my point of view, without missing the depth of greatly described feelings and emotions. Cannot wait for the second part.
Trisha
Apr 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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
Miguel
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
«El cielo quedaba allá arriba», diría una de 'Las chicas de campo' que Edna O'Brien sitúa en el albor de la vida adulta en una Irlanda profunda, ajena al horizonte dublinés, contenida en un «manto de nubes de plumas» y el rosa cálido que revelan los fogonazos de un sol que decae. El transcurso de los días en esta atmósfera vehemente de O'Brien se distingue aquí «por el hecho de que tras los cristales lloviese o cayesen las hojas». Son Caithleen y Baba unas 'chicas de campo' que se encuentran con ...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
...more
Rebecca
I don’t have much to say about this other than that it was a bit weird and I feel like it’s one of those books you need to analyse deeply in order to understand the full meaning behind what the author is trying to convey. I’m aware that this is a trilogy though I don’t have much desire to continue with the series. Would recommend if you’re interested in reading books that focus on social issues, specifically social issues related to Ireland.
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.
Lori Sichtermann
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was once an 18-year-old, and this tender story of strained friendship and romantic realization struck a deep chord. As an adult, you want to shake the characters by the shoulders and say life will get better. But, will it? There are two more books in this trilogy... :-)
Lucy
May 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Deseando leer las continuaciones :D
Trish at Between My Lines
3.5 stars

I read The Country Girls by Edna O’Brien years ago, but remembered nothing of it. And as it’s the book for One City One Book in Dublin this month, I thought it was a good chance to reread it. Even better was that I was able to grab the audiobook in the library, which is read by the author.

7 thoughts on The Country Girls

1. Baba is toxic. And their “friendship” also seems toxic to me. I keep expecting more from her, but she let me (not to mention Cait) down with a bang time after time. Wi
...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
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
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Around the Year i...: The Country Girls, by Edna O'Brien 1 15 Sep 05, 2017 06:09PM  

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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

Other books in the series

The Country Girls Trilogy (4 books)
  • Girl with Green Eyes (The Country Girls Trilogy, #2)
  • Girls in Their Married Bliss (The Country Girls Trilogy, #3)
  • The Country Girls Trilogy
“But we want young men. Romance. Love and things," I said, despondently.” 1 likes
“But we want young men. Romance. Love and things,' I said, despondently.” 1 likes
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