Edna O’Brien’s beloved classics plunge us into the lives and loves of two girls in rural 1950s Ireland (with a new foreword by Eimear McBride).
‘The taboo-breaking, the fabulous prose – there’s no one like Edna O’Brien … Beautiful.’ Anne Enright
‘Novels of heart-breaking empathy, rigorous honesty and peerless beauty.’ Eimear McBride
‘Brilliant and brave.’ Ann Patchett
‘A treasure.’ New York Times
ONE OF THE BBC’S ‘100 NOVELS THAT SHAPED OUR WORLD’
Caithleen ‘Kate’ Brady and Bridget ‘Baba’ Brennan are growing up in a repressive Irish village after World War II. Kate is a romantic, looking for love; Baba is a reckless survivor. After being expelled from convent school, they dream of the bright lights of Dublin – and are rewarded with bad luck and bad sex; marry for the wrong reasons; but continue to fight the expectations forced upon ‘girls’ of every era to become brave new women.
Edna O’Brien’s debut novels revolutionised Irish literature in the 1960s. Banned by the authorities as ‘indecent’ and burned by the clergy, they were notorious for their frank portrayal of sexual desire: but scandal turned to fame, and made this glorious coming-of-age tale an instant classic that inspires and delights readers to this day.
‘Buoyantly youthful … With all the freshness in the world.’ Sunday Times
‘An excellent and highly unusual blend of bawdiness and innocence.’ Evening Standard
‘O’Brien simply offers her characters and they come to us living.’ V.S. Naipaul
‘A natural writer … [such] unphoney charm and unlaborious originality.’ Kingsley Amis
‘One of the greatest Irish writers, of this or any era.’ Sunday Independent
‘One of our bravest and best novelists‘ Irish Times
‘A literary great.’ Times