September book club - Book for discussion is 'Girl' by Edna O'Brien

The London Irish Book club has been going for many years.

It concentrates on Irish authors both fiction and non fiction. The style is extremely informal.

You can contribute your opinion or just sit and listen to the comments of others on each book.

Our age range is diverse and we decide on the next title by consensus.

Nobody is an expert here although we do have one new author!

Your thoughts are as good as anyone else's and we frequently disagree on the merits of our books.

About this months book:

Review

"This is Auden's Icarus story, though it happens at eye level, right on planet Earth, while everyone's looking--or could. It's horrific, as the writer intended, though the Girl endures and is finally released from many forms of captivity, into the light. It's never wan, the light of love." --Ann Beattie

"A haunting tale of suffering and innocence defiled. Remarkable in its trajectory from darkness through to a hard-won glimmer of light. Fierce and lyrical by turns. Another magnificent book from a magnificent writer." --Marina Carr

"By an extraordinary act of the imagination we are transported into the inner world of a girl who, after brutal abuse as a slave to Nigerian jihadis, escapes and with dogged persistence begins to rebuild her shattered life. Girl is a courageous book about a courageous spirit." --J. M. Coetzee

"Girl is a novel of profound and ever-renewing empathy and grace--a parable on the complex subject of human redemption. Its verbal funds are clear and transporting and unforgettable; its dramatic resources vast." --Richard Ford

"Edna O'Brien tells this story with such compassion and understanding that the very disturbing events she relates are uplifting--and unforgettable. An utterly unique achievement." --Ian McKellen

Review

By an extraordinary act of imagination we are transported into the inner world of a girl who, after brutal abuse, escapes and with dogged persistence begins to rebuild her life. Girl is a courageous book about a courageous spirit., J.M. Coetzee

A novel of profound and ever-renewing empathy and grace - a parable on the complex subject of human redemption. Its verbal funds are clear and transporting and unforgettable; its dramatic resources vast., Richard Ford

Girl broke me in two. It is a work of towering humanity and enduring literary value; a hard and beautiful miracle., Eimear McBride

Edna O'Brien tells this story with such compassion and understanding that the very disturbing events she re-lives are uplifting - and unforgettable. An utterly unique achievement., Ian McKellen

An absolutely extraordinary, shattering novel. -- Simon Schama

Mesmerising ... [O'Brien] has set herself one of the greatest challenges a writer can face: to plumb the darkest depths of the human soul. She has triumphantly succeeded. Hypnotic, lyrical and pulsating with dark energy, Girl is a masterful study of human evil by a writer who, at 88, is still getting better. It will blast you with its searing, savage beauty. -- Christina Patterson, Sunday Times

Haunting ... A contemporary story as raw and transfixing as the most visceral Greek tragedy ... Its narrative leavened by deftly wrought moments of maternal intimacy that possess a quiet but almost luminous intensity ... Soul-searing., Observer

[O'Brien's] writing remains as vivid, imaginative and gorgeous as it was in her brilliant youth ... [and displays] the wisdom of maturity. She is not only prepared to tackle big, difficult and controversial subjects from which less bold novelists would shrink, but she addresses them with a wonderful assurance. She is a writer from whom anyone would wish to learn, and one indeed who reminds us that imaginative fiction can illuminate the world and the way we live, feel and think as not even the best non-fiction can. DH Lawrence called the novel "the great book of life;" it is that book which O'Brien opens for us. Read Girl and marvel at its rich humanity. -- Allan Massie, The Scotsman

In Girl, the freshness of her prose is met by the innocence of her narrator and the freedom of her language by the chaos of the events it describes . The life she imagines and presents to the reader is one of unimaginable horror and she does not shy away . O'Brien puts all her might into seeing through her character's young eyes, and this involves forgetting much that she herself knows. The triumph of the book is in the voice of the narrator, who is just as articulate as she might be. The book has a huge storyteller's energy and O'Brien does not patronise - she really has entered the heart of this girl [and] has arrived at some essence of what it is to be vulnerable, female and young. -- Anne Enright, Irish Times

A terrifying, lurching novel ... that keeps faith with the novelist's determination to cross continents and cultures to describe the pain and suffering of women and girls ... Everything that O'Brien does memorably throughout her novels, she does here. There is the blend of economy and lyricism, vignettes tumbling over one another to disorient and energise the reader. There is the intense focus on the emotional lives of women on the sharp end of mental and physical incarceration or constraint, broadening out to sketch in the patriarchal and theocratic structures that hold them there. And there is the constant presence of bodily sensation and distress ... A masterclass of precision and mercilessness ... At 88, O'Brien appears to be more unafraid of experiment and risk than ever ... One can feel one's empathy and understanding to have been enlarged. -- Alex Clark, Guardian

Book Description

The new novel by the legendary Edna O'Brien, author of The Country Girls (dramatised on BBC Radio 4 in August 2019).

About the Author

Edna O'Brien has written more than twenty works of fiction. She is the recipient of many awards, including the Irish PEN Lifetime Achievement Award, the American National Arts Gold Medal, the Frank O'Connor Prize, the PEN/Nabokov Award For Achievement in International Literature, and the David Cohen Prize for Literature. Born and raised in the west of Ireland, she has lived in London for many years.

 

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Other upcoming dates for the diary are as follows:

Monday 30th Nov

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