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August is a Wicked Month

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The Summer Before the Dark’ by Doris Lessing: A well-educated woman contemplates her future after 20 years of marriage and motherhood at a time when having a career wasn’t open to all. You feel like you are watching a girlfriend do all sorts of things that you know are bad for her, and you just want her say please stop doing this to yourself, but you also know she won't listen. It is an homage to internal thought and introspection, reminding me in many ways of Kate Chopin's The Awakening, Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, and Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. So, I splurged and found myself a lovely first edition of this book, a hardcover which smells like the 1960s, which is just when this novel happened to have been written by Irish author, Edna O'Brian. It’s excellent… I liked the cool restrained style of the prose and was stunned by the revelation that changes the whole feel of the story.

At any rate, this novel by O'Brien explores the psychology and neurosis of a youngish, attractive mother who's separated from her husband and goes a little crazy on her summer vacation alone.Nevertheless, there is a new level of ennui and resignation, of displacement and alienation that in some ways reminded me of—and anticipates—Joan Didion's early fiction: Play It as It Lays and Book of Common Prayer.

If you want to see how a masterful author can develop a character so real seeming that you want to befriend, help, and guide her, this book does that and more. After a number of false starts with hotel staff, Ellen falls in with a louche crowd of hangers-on surrounding an American film star. She escapes to the French Riviera and meets a new range of people, all the time realising that she is yearning for something that cannot be experienced through meaningless sex. when, suddenly, I spotted a black and white book cover featuring a snarky gal with a cigarette dangling from her mouth.Hey, I thought, it would be way cheaper to read a story of wanton lasciviousness than to get an infected belly button (and a lot less painful, too).

Another well written Edna O'Brien novel, but not as entertaining and charming and the first two in the Country Girl series.Often times I would find myself losing focus on what I was reading and having to read some passages again. I don’t really have the time to collect the William Trevor reviews in one spot, as I had originally planned, and not sure whether Cathy is doing it. Back at home front, a tragedy strikes and the husband, not knowing where his wife is, does the thing on his own.

She is the 2011 recipient of the Frank O’Connor Prize, awarded for her short story collection Saints and Sinners. She is separated from her husband, lonely, and still figuring out what she wants in life - which is fine, normal, and should be talked about, especially at the time it was published in 1965.There she hopes for some true sexual excitement, but winds up having encounters with two of the hotel employees, who are pushy, clumsy, and ultimately disgusting. Unfortunately for Ellen she finds herself attracted to the one guy who is not available and winds up sleeping with the oldest man in the group for a totally awful experience. A short novel, it is nevertheless jam-packed with the O'Brien's trademark haunting prose - in her best works ( House of Splendid Isolation, In the Forest), her trance-like writing is both comforting and harrowing - often at the very same time. There, she meets all sorts of people including lesbians and gay men but she realizes that she is not really looking for sex because she does not get interested even on a good-looking actor.

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