Edna O’Brien’s iconic trilogy of novels – The Country Girls, The Lonely Girl and Girls in their Married Bliss – depicts the lives and loves of two girls in rural 1950s Ireland. Edna O’Brien’s debut novels revolutionised Irish literature in the 1960s. Banned by the authorities as ‘indecent and obscene’ and burned by the clergy, they were instantly notorious for their frank portrayal of sexual desire: but scandal soon became fame, and made this coming-of-age story a bestseller and instant classic.
Caithleen ‘Kate’ Brady and Bridget ‘Baba’ Brennan have grown up in the repressive atmosphere of a small Irish village after World War II. Kate is a romantic, looking for love; Baba is a reckless survivor. After being expelled from convent school, they dream of conquering the bright lights of Dublin – but are rewarded with bad faith, bad luck, and bad sex; marry for the wrong reasons, then betray for the wrong reasons; and fight – in their unique ways – the expectations forced upon young ‘girls’ of every era that dictate the women they become.
Published in an omnibus edition with a new foreword by Eimear McBride, Edna O’Brien’s portrait of innocence and youth, love and despair, hope and reality, continues to inspire new generations of readers with its bravery, lyricism, humour, and courage.