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Extended Audio Sample Country Girl: A Memoir, by Edna O’Brien Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Edna O’Brien Narrator: Edna O’Brien Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Edna O’Brien’s family encouraged her to attend pharmacy school, but she left before finishing to marry an older writer, give birth to two sons, and publish her first novel. The Country Girls so scandalized the O’Briens’ local parish that the book was burned by the priest, her family disgraced. Country Girl comes twenty-one books later—a rich and heady accounting of the events, people, emotions, and landscape that imprint upon and enliven one lifetime.

Starting with O’Brien’s birth in a grand but deteriorating family house in Ireland and the physicality of family life in the country, her story moves on to the crushes and challenges of convent school; elopement, divorce, single motherhood, and the wild parties of the 1960s London that included people from all walks of life, including such stars as Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, and Paul McCartney. There is love and unrequited love and the glamorous trips to America as an acclaimed writer who was sought and hosted by Jackie Onassis and invited to the White House by Hillary Clinton.

Brilliant and sensuous, Country Girl is a book that Edna O’Brien was always meant to write.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Edna O'Brien has made of her memories something of both precision and depth, a book that, letting us see her as she was, jumps with an all-consuming curiosity from one lucidly narrated event to another.”

    Philip Roth, #1 New York Times bestselling author

  • “O’Brien is skilled at snatching triumph from melancholy....Thrilling, sensuous, unblinking.”


  • “In prose as lyrical and exacting as any in O’Brien’s fiction, Country Girl evokes both the solitariness and the adventure of a life devoted to writing.”


  • “You must suffer to become yourself, and it doesn’t get easier. I took heart from Country Girl, both as the self-portrait of a great prose stylist and an exemplary female survivor.”

    New Yorker

  • “Ms. O’Brien has long and correctly been recognized as among the greatest Irish writers of the twentieth century. She’s had an outsize life to match her outsize talent.”

    New York Times

  • “Edna O’Brien, for whom the word ‘redoubtable’ may well have been coined, has lived a long and quite remarkable life...Anyone who knows and loves her work, as I do, will want to read Country Girl from start to finish.”

    Washington Post

  • “This is a big, robust life, and though one might come for the literary gossip, the lucid prose and sharp insight command one’s attention. It’s with good reason that this memoir has been placed on so many lists of best books of 2013...We’re in the thrall of one of the most beguiling and resilient contemporary writers, a stylist, and a survivor...Through it all, she’s an exuberant literary pioneer.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “O’Brien’s account of her life is completely irresistible.”

    Boston Globe

  • “O’Brien’s religion has been literature; to it she has remained devout, with a fervor that is contagious...She is no saint. She is an icon.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Edna O’Brien had to exile herself, like Joyce and Beckett, to become herself. Mad Ireland hurt her into prose the way Auden said it had hurt Yeats into poetry....Literature—O’Brien’s most faithful companion, her deepest faith—brings what consolation it can. She returns the favor by adding her extravagant lyricism to its trove.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Get ready to applaud, ladies and gentlemen, because there is no one like her. O’Brien, in her 80s, may look like an icon and talk like an icon, but she writes like the thing itself, with prose that is scrupulous and lyrical, beautiful and exact.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “When sex fails you, there’s always gossip. An excellent memoir, Country Girl provided it in shedloads, along with some moral seriousness to boot.”

    Observer (London)

  • “While O’Brien overly devotes her time to cataloguing the notable actors, writers, and politicians of her acquaintance, the accounts of her childhood and her descriptions of Ireland soar with a lyricism reminiscent of [James] Joyce. Recommended for memoir lovers and readers with a desire for more insight into this important twentieth-century literary figure.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “For lovers of audiobook memoirs, it doesn’t get better than this: a grand and memorable life, efficiently written and carefully detailed, as told by the person who lived it. We listen as O’Brien—propelled by destiny, courage, and confidence—writes her way out of the small-minded world of her Irish hometown; inserts herself into a high-society culture filled with musicians, literary titans, and film stars; experiences several highs on the ‘love trampoline,’ as well as life-threatening bouts of despair; and ultimately (and fortunately) breaks her vow never to write her memoir. In her narration, O’Brien’s vocal eccentricities—including a sonorous, often bemused tone—enliven and color her carefully crafted prose. The result is a detailed self-examination that achieves the realm of literary nonfiction. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books of 2013
  • A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2013 for Nonfiction
  • A 2014 Chicago Tribune Editor’s Choice
  • One of the New Yorker’s Best Books of 2012
  • Finalist for the 2013 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Biography
  • A 2013 New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
  • An NPR Bestseller
  • A San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller
  • A 2012 Library Journal Editor’s Pick
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