Edna O'Brien holds a place among internationally significant writers. Although I'd read about her work for years, particularly the novel "Country Girls," which scandalized her native Ireland with its openness about female sexuality, I'd avoided reading her books. I suppose I'd read her literary criticism and essays in The New York Review of Books and other places but always resisted her fiction.
Positive reviews about her recent memoir, "Country Girl," influenced me to check it out, and I'm glad I did. Now in her 80s, O'Brien presents a searingly honest account of her exciting, heart-breaking life.
Her finely wrought literary language shows high English style at its best. The descriptions of her rural Irish childhood display her novelist's eye and talent for vivid characterization. Her accounts of her harrowing marriage, her attempts to find emotional and mental peace and her adventures in London and New York's swinging '60s scene make "Country Girl" a classic of the genre.
Yes, I fell in love with her on the pages as apparently many other men - and some women -often do when meeting her in person. I happened to see a video of her interviewed by a Guardian writer - she's a great woman of English letters.