Monday, September 12, 2011

All the nicest men were in books ...

Because of the rain, not many customers came in and out, so I wrote the bills quickly and then got on with my reading. I had a book hidden in the ledger, so that I could read it without fear of being caught.
It was a beautiful book, but sad. It was called Tender is the Night. I skipped half the words in my anxiety  to read it quickly, because I wanted to know if the man would leave the woman or not. All the nicest men were in books - the strange, complex, romantic men; the ones I admired most.

Edna O'Brien, Girl with Green Eyes (1962)

'Haven't you already read that?' friends used to say to me when they saw me reading this when I was at university.

Yes, but I'm reading it again. And again. This is a book I have more than copy of, in case one wears out or gets lost. This story of Caithleen Brady (Kate), a 'literary fat girl' working in a grocery shop in Dublin, and her friend Baba in the early 1960s, is one I find endlessly entertaining and apparently effortlessly written. Sometimes when you're a teenager you find the perfect book that is you, and for me, this is it.


  1. Oh, this book sounds wonderful. Apart from the whole men thing, anyway. I shall have to read it though.

  2. If I can find my spare copy I'll lend it to you.( I'll lend it to you anyway, but you will need to be killed if I don't get it back)

  3. I would like that. If you happen to find it before the end of next week, drop it into the bookshop and someone will pass it on to me. Next week is midsemester break (finally!) and I will be in Lismore. Looking forward to being home again, much like you probably are now!

    Must go write an essay on Freud and Eliot and Jean Rhys' short stories now. Hmmmm...