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Miss MacIntosh, My Darling

(Miss MacIntosh, My Darling)

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  133 ratings  ·  50 reviews
This novel is one of the most ambitious and remarkable literary achievements of our time. It is a picaresque, psychological novel--a novel of the road, a journey or voyage of the human spirit in its search for reality in a world of illusion and nightmare. It is an epic of what might be called the Arabian Nights of American life. Marguerite Young's method is poetic, imagist ...more
Hardcover, 1198 pages
Published 1965 by Scribner
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Paul Bryant
Mar 27, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: novels, abandoned
My brain hurts, my brain hurts - hold the front page, my fellow scrabblers at the coalface of literature, I think I may have found the worst book in the world. An achievement of sorts, you must agree. Anyway, for now Miss Macintosh, My Darling is the GOLD STANDARD of total crapness. Future terrible novels will be rated thus : this novel scores 5.4 on the MMMD scale.

They call it oceanic. It’s actually diarhhoeic. It took her 18 years to write. Excellent. Never wrote another novel. Even more exce
Jan 17, 2014 added it
Recommends it for: eternal readers everywhere
Recommended to Fionnuala by: Y.O.R.P
I’ve never been so full of words as after reading this book, itself so very full of words.
And yet the words inspired by the reading are hard to grasp, they slip through my fingers, fly out of my grasp, flit away on the breeze of an afternoon, such an afternoon as is pleasantly spent turning the leaves of this book in a garden, beneath a tree, the sunlight stealing through the gaps in the canopy overhead dappling the page, causing the words to shimmer and shift, while the breeze, that same breez

What a strange, bewildering, unheimlich novel this is. At times I felt as though someone was projecting Parajanov's The Color of Pomegranates on top of Bergmans' Winter Light, and I was being asked to watch and appreciate them both simultaneously.

So the question is, and a rather appropriate one it is too in light of the topics discussed below: how can a novel be both a success and a failure? How can it succeed even as it fails? For I do not think it possible to argue that this overflowing text
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
It has been several weeks past now that I completed my initial reading of Marguerite Young’s Miss MacIntosh, My Darling. Reviewing it has been stymied. I’d really very much like to write something here that might convince you and many more besides to read her novel. I’ve now read all her prose work which managed to find itself published, and decry the fact that our literary world has left so much in the archive still. I’ve read as much as I could find which has been written about her. It is not ...more
Vit Babenco
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Is the girl mad? Or is the world mad? Miss MacIntosh, My Darling is a saga of the mad girl in the mad world…
I had peered into all faces, seeing none, only those who were already gone, only those who could not answer. My illness had been great, dead souls like the autumn leaves stirring where I walked, and could I have believed in the ultimate harmony, I could have been among them, but there had been only, in my narrow experience, the dream of chaos repeating chaos, so what I looked for always in
Jan 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I became aware of this book while looking at Wikipedia's list of longest novels ever written (and published). After reading the description of it as an 'opium dream' I was intrigued, having loved all stream-of-consciousness modernist writing from Joyce to Faulkner.

I set about my task, to find a copy of this seemingly out of print book. Luckily people seem to be trying to unload the several lingering copies in existence for a very inexpensive price on any online retailer of used books.

A month la
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
EDIT: Of course I haven't read this two times. Don't believe what Goodreads tells you.

There is no shortage of enormous American novels from the latter half of the twentieth century. An almost random list: William Gaddis’ The Recognitions and JR; John Barth's The Sot-Weed Factor, Giles Goat-Boy and Letters; Thomas Pynchon's Gravity’s Rainbow and Mason & Dixon; Joseph McElroy's Women and Men; Robert Coover's The Public Burning; David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest; William Gass’ The Tunnel; Richar
M. Sarki
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star-wonders

"He is but as the stubble of the field, and yet he has no beard."

My completed study of this epic novel spanned fifteen months beginning in January of 2015. Almost immediately upon beginning to read I recognized Marguerite Young’s genius and realized I would not be able to retain in my body her beautiful words while conducting what has become for me a typically recreational enjoyment. I decided I would have to instead devour this 1198 page work in increment
Christopher Robinson
Phenomenal. Singular. Achingly beautiful prose that winds on and on and on, never diminishing in intensity of tone or imaginative power. Maybe it’s too long, too slow moving, the author too obsessed with cataloguing every little detail of her characters’ lives... but then, maybe the reviewers that feel or felt that way should just pick up another book, forget about Young and the incredible fictional universe she has rendered and showcased here. Indeed, this is the kind of book you know you’ll ei ...more
Sep 15, 2014 marked it as to-read


& here is her charmingly unostentatious signature on the front flyleaf


which I thought might be a bit too unostentatious to be legit, until I did a search and found this, which confirmed the signature and also is a wonderful little document all on its own, the manuscript first page:
ReemK10 (Paper Pills)
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I just read The Most Widely Unread Book Ever Acclaimed!!

I read Miss Macintosh My Darling because I  needed a marathon to run.I needed a mountain to climb. Being that it has been years since I've climbed a mountain and highly unlikely that I'll ever walk a marathon let alone run one, I figured that this would be the best next thing.

It was.

Entering Marguerite Young's eccentric world was refreshing. Reading her haphazardly strung together sentences was energizing. Trying to make sense of what I was
Sep 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are aware that this book exists, you should read it. Review proper coming up.
Dec 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-and-buried
if you like long, repetitive, poetic sentences and a total lack of interest in plot then boy have i got a book for you. there's a 4oo page bit of just a guy fretting over his dead brother. the bus ride that starts on page 1 doesn't end until page 900 or so. theres also a great bit with a mute guy who keeps a singing frog in his mouth to talk with, and they have a very sad funeral for the frog when it dies. ...more
Stephen P(who no longer can participate due to illness)
A screw up has me having read this already. What I can say is that the first 400 pages shows what literature can do and become.
Miss MacIntosh, My Darling is a psychological life-sentence of a novel whose characters must navigate life in the face of disillusion, maddening grief and trauma. The prose is engulfing, endless, transcending, and illuminates with astounding accuracy even the most dimly lit corners of existence, reality, life and death. It is bereft melancholy at large - and at this point in time, it is also my favourite work of literature. If ever a dream more astonishing, vivid and encompassing is to be endure ...more
Apr 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, lit-fiction
This is not an easy read by any means, but well worth the considerable effort I put into it.
Aug 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vol. 2 - Miss MacIntosh, My Darling

Wow! What an epic novel. I truly took my time reading this one. I savored each line over a period of nine months, thirteen interceding books, six birthdays, five holidays, and an anniversary. So, what is my point? If you have the patience, it is a wonderful read.

What I enjoyed most about MMMD is the author’s painterly, dream-scape imagery. She created a panoramic impression of society in all its forms – pathological, illusionistic, and beautiful- as witnessed a
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I feel like this book needs a little bit of cheer-leading, so I'm throwing in my two-bits. William Goyen (NYT Book Review) wrote "The book's mysterious readability is effected through enchantment and hypnosis." I saw that quote on the back of the book about 1/4 of the way through Miss MacIntosh, My Darling (MMMD) and immediately thought "YES!" That's the thing about this book -- reading to one marker begets reading to the next marker and so on until 200 pages are past and you don't know what hap ...more
Steven Shaviro
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the greatest of all American novels. It is daunting (1198 pages of dense prose) but worth it. I have compiled chapter-by-chapter reading notes:
May 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Volume I of II.......At first I was absolutely mesmerized by the elegant,lyrical verbosity of this writer. Every sentence is so full of metaphor, simile, and incredible language. I know that this novel took the author 18 years to write and that portions were published in magazines along the way. I think it may be a novel best read in doses, allowing the reader to savor the writing and ponder the myriad of ideas touched upon throughout the tale. The stream of consciousness style takes the form wa ...more
Steven Felicelli
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Williams comes to mind (Gaddis, Goyen, Faulkner, Blake) - lyrical tome a workshop would trim several hundred pages off - they won't make books like this any more, alas ...more
Really, what's with the value/rating fetish, Goodreads (and everybody else)? I give infinite unstars to everything. No superlatives please. I'm sure nothing I can say is going to convince you to read fourteen hundred pages. If you like lists, commas, opium and a little sonic texture, you might get into this. There's a good deal of repetition going on throughout, but I think it plays the same role as in a poem, i.e. builds tone with emphatic gesture. ...more
Dec 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful and ridiculously enjoyable and dreamily digressive and pænunputdownable: actual review forthcoming...
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Margeurite Young, where have you been all my life? Well, you've been dead...or are you really still alive and tucked away in hiding in some opium den under the sea? That is precisely what Miss MacIntosh, My Darling is about, things not always being what they seem and the uncertain, gray spaces in between extremes being the most fertile places to play--life and death, dark and light, male and female, imagination and reality, and the pregnant silence between two notes in a musical composition.

Rick Slane
Dec 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf, poetry
I was almost halfway through this when I found this machine printed note tucked between the pages of the copy I borrowed from the Barry University library: Welcome to the pre-cyber world of MIss MacIntosh, my Darling. You are now in the exclusive club of people who have perused this book (no one , it seems, has ever read all 1200 pgs of it). First things first. It is not a novel. There is no story and no characters. It is a humongus prose poem. Start anywhere. Read a page or two. Repeat. Then pu ...more
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
In a certain way this book is a companion to Proust's recherche - but with a search for a lost reality instead of a lost past. With little else to remember but dreams and self-contradicting episodes, the heroine attempts to break out of her fictitious world. For the typical reader, this is against their expectation: We are not lead into an alternate reality for relaxation, indulgement, mind expansion or whatever, but rather are exposed to a constant drone of "fictoids" (opposed to the already du ...more
Ian "Marvin" Graye
Apr 03, 2017 marked it as to-read
Shelves: reviews
A Waste of Cyberspace

TL;DR. I might have wasted my $7 on this so-called "novel".

Instead of writing something more substantive, I'll refer you to an honest review that doesn't eulogise the sheer bulk of words as if it was some kind of godsend.
Mar 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
like the best parts of a walk on the wild side in a style more like thomas wolfe

better than that, actually
Edward Butler
Dec 01, 2020 is currently reading it
Finally in-progress in earnest with this massive, incredible book, seemingly perfect in every word.
Aug 13, 2015 added it
Recommended to mark by: a friend
/Users/markjabbour/Desktop/Movie on 2015-08-22 at

I'm now on page 65. This is the most interesting, boring, tedious book I've ever read. It's interesting because of the detail and the writing style. The author writes in extremely long run-on sentences, using comma after comma. The digressions are amazing and intriguing; but in the end - it's 'who cares? Where am I? Where is the story?' Oh, that's right - it's a character study of Miss MacIntosh, nursemaid to a super-rich, opium addicted
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Miss MacIntosh, M...: Recurring motifs 8 17 Apr 09, 2020 05:34PM  
Miss MacIntosh, M...: 47 -- The quality of the literal...(535) 5 18 Apr 08, 2020 06:29PM  
Miss MacIntosh, M...: Vera Cartwheel 1 19 Oct 29, 2014 09:23AM  
Miss MacIntosh, M...: Catherine Cartwheel 1 11 Oct 29, 2014 09:21AM  
Miss MacIntosh, M...: Miss MacIntosh 1 19 Oct 29, 2014 09:19AM  
500 Great Books B...: Miss Macintosh, My Darling - Maguerite Young - Fionnuala 1 16 Jul 31, 2014 02:11PM  

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Marguerite Vivian Young was an American author of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and criticism. Her work evinced an interest in the American identity, social issues, and environmentalism.

Her first book of poetry was published in 1937, while she was teaching high-school English in Indianapolis. In that same year, she visited New Harmony, Indiana, the site of two former utopian communities, where her

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