The Classics Book Group - The Country Girls, Edna O'Brien

The Country Girls by Edna O'Brien cover image

The Classics Book Group will be meeting via Zoom

Monday, October 23rd • 6:30 PM ET / 11:30 PM IST via Zoom
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The Country Girls, originally published in 1960, is the first novel in a trilogy of the same name by Edna O’Brien. It was banned under The Irish Censorship of Publications Act, and condemned by the Catholic Church. Public reaction in Ireland was largely negative, but it went on to be very successful internationally. The Country Girls, both the trilogy and the novel, is often credited with breaking silence on sexual matters and social issues during a repressive period in Ireland following World War II and was adapted into a 1983 film. The trilogy is also often cited by women writers in Ireland as key to the development of contemporary women’s writing in the country.

Caithleen "Cait/Kate" Brady and Bridget "Baba" Brennan are 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. Cait, dreamy and romantic, yearns for true love, while Baba just wants to experience the life of a single girl. Although they set out to conquer the world together, as their lives take unexpected turns, Cait and Baba must ultimately learn to find their own way.


Winner of the Kingsley Amis Award in 1962

''The taboo-breaking, the fabulous prose – there's no one like Edna O'Brien ... Beautiful.'' 

Anne Enright

''Brilliant and brave.'' 

Ann Patchett

''A treasure.'' 

New York Times


Edna O'Brien

About the Author

Josephine Edna O'Brien DBE (born December 15th, 1930, at Tuamgraney, County Clare, Ireland) is an Irish novelist, memoirist, playwright, poet and short-story writer. Elected to Aosdána by her fellow artists, she was honoured with the title Saoi in 2015 and the biennial "UK and Ireland Nobel" David Cohen Prize in 2019, whilst France made her Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2021.

O'Brien's works often revolve around the inner feelings of women, and their problems in relating to men, and to society as a whole.

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