The Country Girls Trilogy, Dublin One City One Book 2019

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The Country Girls trilogyDublin City Council’s Public Library Service is pleased to announce that The Country Girls Trilogy by Edna O’Brien, is the Dublin One City One Book choice for 2019. Dublin One City One Book is a Dublin City Council initiative, led by Dublin City Public Libraries, which encourages everyone to read a book connected with the capital city during the month of April every year. The annual initiative includes a full programme of events based around the book. 

Published by Faber & Faber,  this volume is introduced by Eimear McBride and includes The Country Girls and its sequels The Lonely Girl and Girls in Their Married Bliss, which changed the temperature of Irish literature in the 1960s and inspired generations of readers and writers. The passion, artistry and courage of Edna O’Brien’s vision in these novels continue to resonate into the 21st century.

Acting Dublin City Librarian, Brendan Teeling, added: “We work hard every year to choose a book that will capture the imagination of the people of Dublin, of all ages and walks of life, and I know that The Country Girls Trilogy will prove a rewarding reading experience for all who engage with Dublin One City One Book 2019. This book is exquisitely written, moving, humorous, full of compelling characters - and still as relevant as when it was written in 1960. I invite everyone to read it next April and to share in the city’s celebration of its author’s achievement.”

Dublin’s Lord Mayor, Nial Ring said: ‘Edna O’Brien is one of Ireland’s most treasured authors so I am very proud that our capital city is honouring her talent and legacy in this way. Dublin City Council’s initiative is a creative and inclusive way to get all our citizens reading.  With copies of The Country Girls Trilogy available to borrow for free in all formats throughout our public library network, it just remains for the people of Dublin to enjoy this great book.’

A full programme of events will be announced in March 2019.


About The Book

When The Country Girls, Edna O’Brien’s first novel, appeared in 1960, it predated and anticipated the feminist revolution.  It stood out and stood alone, upturning every category.  There was little to compare with it. 

 The Country Girls grew over time to what we now know as The Country Girls Trilogy, encompassing the title volume, a second novel Girl with Green Eyes, published in 1962, and Girls in Their Married Bliss, published in 1964.  It is given to few to write their most important works early on.  Quite simply, The Country Girls is a twentieth-century literary masterpiece which anticipates and puts into effect a feminist revolution all of its own.

 It tells the story of two young girls from Country Clare, Cait Brady and Baba Brennan, and tracks them from childhood through the vicissitudes of adolescence, marriage, emigration to Dublin and then to London and the terrible reckonings of adult life.  Cait, the timid romanticist, who unfailingly falls for the wrong kind of man and suffers accordingly, is contrasted with Baba who is more hard-nosed, cynical, and pragmatic. 

The Country Girls Trilogy is outstanding because of its stylistic variation and the uncanny accuracy of its vision: each of the novels is tonally quite different but each achieves the same level of precision and insight into the social and emotional conditions of lives in 1950s rural Ireland and in London in the 1960s. 


About The Author

Edna O’Brien’s first novel, The Country Girls, was published in 1960.  Since then, she has published prolifically across numerous genres.  Her works includes 18 novels, 9 collections of short stories, 4 plays, biographies of James Joyce and Byron, a cultural history of Ireland, a memoir, and a volume of poetry.  Edna O’Brien would be revered if she had written nothing other than The Country Girls Trilogy.  However, she has continued to produce distinctive and engaging novels and stories that particularly follow the course of women’s lives and capture the emotional fabric of their worlds with unfailing accuracy and insight.

Edna O’Brien has changed the fabric of the Irish novel by widening its circumference in enduring ways.  She has used her breath-taking inventiveness, creative audacity, distinctive vision, and unsurpassed stylistic precision to give voice to female experience and sexuality and to bring a myriad of feminist themes into the ambit of the novel.   Her fiction is above all to be relished for its truth, its wit, its emotional scale and depth, and the incisiveness of its style.  To read Edna O’Brien is to make the acquaintance of a writer with a drive to represent the modern world in all of its uncomfortable and unlovely but eminently human aspects and of an artist besotted with the English language which she deploys with fastidious care. Edna O’Brien is the recipient of many awards, including the Irish PEN Lifetime Achievement Award, the American National Arts Gold Medal, the Frank O’Connor Prize and the PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature. Born and raised in the west of Ireland, she has lived in London for many years.  


Dublin One City One Book

Previous books featured are; At Swim Two Birds by Flann O’ Brien (2006), A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry (2007), Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (2008), Dracula by Bram Stoker (2009), The  Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde (2010), Ghost Light by Joseph O’Connor (2011), Dubliners by James Joyce (2012), Strumpet City by James Plunkett (2013), If Ever You Go: a map of Dublin in poetry and song edited by Pat Boran and Gerard Smyth (2014) and The Barrytown Trilogy by Roddy Doyle (2015); Fallen by Lia Mills (2016); Echoland by Joe Joyce (2017) and The Long Gaze Back, An Anthology of Irish Women Writers edited by Sinéad Gleeson (2018).


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