The Group: A Novel

The Group: A Novel

by Mary McCarthy

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Overview

This smash bestseller about privileged Vassar classmates shocked America in the sixties and remains “juicy . . . witty . . . brilliant” (Cosmopolitan).
 At Vassar, they were known as “the group”—eight young women of privilege, the closest of friends, an eclectic mix of vibrant personalities. A week after graduation in 1933, they all gather for the wedding of Kay Strong, one of their own, before going their separate ways in the world. In the years that follow, they will each know accomplishment and loss in equal measure, pursuing careers and marriage, experiencing the joys and traumas of sexual awakening and motherhood, all while suffering through betrayals, infidelities, and sometimes madness. Some of them will drift apart. Some will play important roles in the personal dramas of others. But it is tragedy that will ultimately unite the group once again.
A novel that stunned the world when it was first published in 1963, Mary McCarthy’s The Group found acclaim, controversy, and a place atop the New York Times bestseller list for nearly two years for its frank and controversial exploration of women’s issues, social concerns, and sexuality. A blistering satire of the mores of an emergent generation of women, The Group is McCarthy’s enduring masterpiece, still as relevant, powerful, and wonderfully entertaining fifty years on.
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Mary McCarthy including rare images from the author’s estate. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781480438231
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication date: 08/06/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 487
Sales rank: 1,059
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Mary McCarthy (1912–1989) was an American literary critic and author of more than two dozen books including the 1963 New York Times bestseller The Group. Born in Seattle, McCarthy studied at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, and graduated in 1933. After moving to New York City, McCarthy became known for her incisive writing as a contributor to publications such as the Nation, the New Republic, and the New York Review of Books. Her debut novel, The Company She Keeps (1942), initiated her ascent to become one of the most celebrated writers of her generation, a reputation bolstered by the publication of her autobiography Memories of a Catholic Girlhood in 1957, as well as that of her now-classic novel The Group.
MARY MCCARTHY (1912–1989) was a short-story writer, bestselling novelist, essayist, and critic. She was the author of The Stones of Florence and Birds of America, among other books.

Read an Excerpt

The Group

A Novel


By Mary McCarthy

OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA

Copyright © 1982 Mary McCarthy
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4804-3823-1


CHAPTER 1

It was June, 1933, one week after Commencement, when Kay Leiland Strong, Vassar '33, the first of her class to run around the table at the Class Day dinner, was married to Harald Petersen, Reed '27, in the chapel of St. George's Church, P.E., Karl F. Reiland, Rector. Outside, on Stuyvesant Square, the trees were in full leaf, and the wedding guests arriving by twos and threes in taxis heard the voices of children playing round the statue of Peter Stuyvesant in the park. Paying the driver, smoothing out their gloves, the pairs and trios of young women, Kay's classmates, stared about them curiously, as though they were in a foreign city. They were in the throes of discovering New York, imagine it, when some of them had actually lived here all their lives, in tiresome Georgian houses full of waste space in the Eighties or Park Avenue apartment buildings, and they delighted in such out-of-the-way corners as this, with its greenery and Quaker meeting-house in red brick, polished brass, and white trim next to the wine-purple Episcopal church—on Sundays, they walked with their beaux across Brooklyn Bridge and poked into the sleepy Heights section of Brooklyn; they explored residential Murray Hill and quaint MacDougal Alley and Patchin Place and Washington Mews with all the artists' studios; they loved the Plaza Hotel and the fountain there and the green mansarding of the Savoy Plaza and the row of horsedrawn hacks and elderly coachmen, waiting, as in a French place, to tempt them to a twilight ride through Central Park.

The sense of an adventure was strong on them this morning, as they seated themselves softly in the still, near-empty chapel; they had never been to a wedding quite like this one before, to which invitations had been issued orally by the bride herself, without the intervention of a relation or any older person, friend of the family. There was to be no honeymoon, they had heard, because Harald (that was the way he spelled it—the old Scandinavian way) was working as an assistant stage manager for a theatrical production and had to be at the theatre as usual this evening to call "half hour" for the actors. This seemed to them very exciting and of course it justified the oddities of the wedding: Kay and Harald were too busy and dynamic to let convention cramp their style. In September, Kay was going to start at Macy's, to be trained, along with other picked college graduates, in merchandising techniques, but instead of sitting around all summer, waiting for the job to begin, she had already registered for a typing course in business school, which Harald said would give her a tool that the other trainees wouldn't have. And, according to Helena Davison, Kay's roommate junior year, the two of them had moved right into a summer sublet, in a nice block in the East Fifties, without a single piece of linen or silver of their own, and had spent the last week, ever since graduation (Helena had just been there and seen it), on the regular tenant's sublet sheets!

How like Kay, they concluded fondly, as the tale passed along the pews. She had been amazingly altered, they felt, by a course in Animal Behavior she had taken with old Miss Washburn (who had left her brain in her will to Science) during their junior year. This and her work with Hallie Flanagan in Dramatic Production had changed her from a shy, pretty, somewhat heavy Western girl with black lustrous curly hair and a wild-rose complexion, active in hockey, in the choir, given to large tight brassières and copious menstruations, into a thin, hard-driving, authoritative young woman, dressed in dungarees, sweat shirt, and sneakers, with smears of paint in her unwashed hair, tobacco stains on her fingers, talking airily of "Hallie" and "Lester," Hallie's assistant, of flats and stippling, of oestrum and nymphomania, calling her friends by their last names loudly—"Eastlake," "Renfrew," "MacAusland"—counseling premarital experiment and the scientific choice of a mate. Love, she said, was an illusion.

To her fellow group members, all seven of whom were now present in the chapel, this development in Kay, which they gently labeled a "phase," had been, nevertheless, disquieting. Her bark was worse than her bite, they used to reiterate to each other, late at night in their common sitting room in the South Tower of Main Hall, when Kay was still out, painting flats or working on the electricity with Lester in the theatre. But they were afraid that some man, who did not know the old dear as they did, would take her at her word. They had pondered about Harald; Kay had met him last summer when she was working as an apprentice at a summer theatre in Stamford and both sexes had lived in a dormitory together. She said he wanted to marry her, but that was not the way his letters sounded to the group. They were not love letters at all, so far as the group could see, but accounts of personal successes among theatrical celebrities, what Edna Ferber had said to George Kaufman in his hearing, how Gilbert Miller had sent for him and a woman star had begged him to read his play to her in bed. "Consider yourself kissed," they ended, curtly, or just "C.Y.K."—not another word. In a young man of their own background, as the girls vaguely phrased it, such letters would have been offensive, but their education had impressed on them the unwisdom of making large judgments from one's own narrow little segment of experience. Still, they could tell that Kay was not as sure of him as she pretended she was; sometimes he did not write for weeks, while poor Kay went on whistling in the dark. Polly Andrews, who shared a mailbox with her, knew this for a fact. Up to the Class Day dinner, ten days ago, the girls had had the feeling that Kay's touted "engagement" was pretty much of a myth. They had almost thought of turning to some wiser person for guidance, a member of the faculty or the college psychiatrist—somebody Kay could talk it out to, frankly. Then, that night, when Kay had run around the long table, which meant you were announcing your engagement to the whole class, and produced from her winded bosom a funny Mexican silver ring to prove it, their alarm had dissolved into a docile amusement; they clapped, dimpling and twinkling, with an air of prior knowledge. More gravely, in low posh tones, they assured their parents, up for the Commencement ceremonies, that the engagement was of long standing, that Harald was "terribly nice" and "terribly in love" with Kay. Now, in the chapel, they rearranged their fur pieces and smiled at each other, noddingly, like mature little martens and sables: they had been right, the hardness was only a phase; it was certainly a point for their side that the iconoclast and scoffer was the first of the little band to get married.

"Who would have thunk it?" irrepressibly remarked "Pokey" (Mary) Prothero, a fat cheerful New York society girl with big red cheeks and yellow hair, who talked like a jolly beau of the McKinley period, in imitation of her yachtsman father. She was the problem child of the group, very rich and lazy, having to be coached in her subjects, cribbing in examinations, sneaking weekends, stealing library books, without morals or subtleties, interested only in animals and hunt dances; her ambition, recorded in the yearbook, was to become a vet; she had come to Kay's wedding good-naturedly because her friends had dragged her there, as they had dragged her to college assemblies, throwing stones up at her window to rouse her and then thrusting her into her cap and rumpled gown. Having now got her safely to the church, later in the day they would propel her into Tiffany's, to make sure that Kay got one good, thumping wedding present, a thing Pokey, by herself, would not understand the necessity of, since to her mind wedding presents were a part of the burden of privilege, associated with detectives, bridesmaids, fleets of limousines, reception at Sherry's or the Colony Club. If one was not in society, what was the point of the folderol? She herself, she proclaimed, hated being fitted for dresses, hated her coming-out party, would hate her wedding, when she had it, which, as she said, was bound to happen since, thanks to Daddy's money, she had her pick of beaux. All these objections she had raised in the taxicab on the way down, in her grating society caw, till the taxi driver turned round at a stop light to look at her, fat and fair, in a blue faille suit with sables and a lorgnon of diamonds, which she raised to her weak sapphire eyes to peer at him and at his picture, concluding, in a loud firm whisper, to her roommates, "It's not the same man."

"What perfect pets they look!" murmured Dottie Renfrew, of Boston, to quiet her, as Harald and Kay came in from the vestry and took their places before the surpliced curate, accompanied by little Helena Davison, Kay's ex-roommate from Cleveland, and by a sallow blond young man with a mustache. Pokey made use of her lorgnon, squinting up her pale-lashed eyes like an old woman; this was her first appraisal of Harald, for she had been away hunting for the weekend the one time he had come to college. "Not too bad," she pronounced. "Except for the shoes." The groom was a thin, tense young man with black straight hair and a very good, supple figure, like a fencer's; he was wearing a blue suit, white shirt, brown suede shoes, and dark-red tie. Her scrutiny veered to Kay, who was wearing a pale-brown thin silk dress with a big white mousseline de soie collar and a wide black taffeta hat wreathed with white daisies; around one tan wrist was a gold bracelet that had belonged to her grandmother; she carried a bouquet of field daisies mixed with lilies of the valley. With her glowing cheeks, vivid black curly hair, and tawny hazel eyes, she looked like a country lass on some old tinted post card; the seams of her stockings were crooked, and the backs of her black suede shoes had worn spots, where she had rubbed them against each other. Pokey scowled. "Doesn't she know," she lamented, "that black's bad luck for weddings?" "Shut up," came a furious growl from her other side. Pokey, hurt, peered around, to find Elinor Eastlake, of Lake Forest, the taciturn brunette beauty of the group, staring at her with murder in her long, green eyes. "But Lakey!" Pokey cried, protesting. The Chicago girl, intellectual, impeccable, disdainful, and nearly as rich as herself, was the only one of the group she stood in awe of. Behind her blinking good nature, Pokey was a logical snob. She assumed that it was taken for granted that of the other seven roommates, only Lakey could expect to be in her wedding, and vice versa, of course; the others would come to the reception. "Fool," spat out the Madonna from Lake Forest, between gritted pearly teeth. Pokey rolled her eyes. "Temperamental," she observed to Dottie Renfrew. Both girls stole amused glances at Elinor's haughty profile; the fine white Renaissance nostril was dinted with a mark of pain. To Elinor, this wedding was torture. Everything was so jaggedly ill-at-ease: Kay's costume, Harald's shoes and necktie, the bare altar, the sparsity of guests on the groom's side (a couple and a solitary man), the absence of any family connection. Intelligent and morbidly sensitive, she was inwardly screaming with pity for the principals and vicarious mortification. Hypocrisy was the sole explanation she could find for the antiphonal bird twitter of "Terribly nice," and "Isn't this exciting?" that had risen to greet the couple in lieu of a wedding march. Elinor was always firmly convinced of other people's hypocrisy since she could not believe that they noticed less than she did. She supposed now that the girls all around her must see what she saw, must suffer for Kay and Harald a supreme humiliation.

Facing the congregation, the curate coughed. "Step forward!" he sharply admonished the young couple, sounding, as Lakey observed afterward, more like a bus conductor than a minister. The back of the groom's neck reddened; he had just had a haircut. All at once, the fact that Kay was a self-announced scientific atheist came home to her friends in the chapel; the same thought crossed every mind: what had happened in the interview in the rectory? Was Harald a communicant? It seemed very unlikely. How had they worked it, then, to get married in a rock-ribbed Episcopal church? Dottie Renfrew, a devout Episcopal communicant, drew her clasped furs closer around her susceptible throat; she shivered. It occurred to her that she might be compounding a sacrilege: to her certain knowledge, Kay, the proud daughter of an agnostic doctor and a Mormon mother, had not even been baptized. Kay, as the group knew too, was not a very truthful person; could she have lied to the minister? In that case, was the marriage invalid? A flush stole up from Dottie's collarbone, reddening the patch of skin at the V opening of her handmade crepe de Chine blouse; her perturbed brown eyes canvassed her friends; her eczematous complexion spotted. She knew by heart what was coming. "If any man can show just cause, why they may not be lawfully joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace." The curate's voice halted, on a questioning note; he glanced up and down the pews. Dottie shut her eyes and prayed, conscious of a dead hush in the chapel. Would God or Dr. Leverett, her clergyman, really want her to speak up? She prayed that they would not. The opportunity passed, as she heard the curate's voice resume, loud and solemn, as if almost in reprobation of the couple, to which he now turned. "I require and charge you both, as ye will answer at the dreadful day of judgment, when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed, that if either of you know any impediment, why ye may not be lawfully joined together in Matrimony, ye do now confess it. For be ye well assured, that if any persons are joined together otherwise than as God's Word doth allow, their marriage is not lawful."

You could have heard a pin drop, as the girls agreed later. Every girl was holding her breath. Dottie's religious scruples had given way to a new anxiety, which was common to the whole group. The knowledge, shared by them all, of Kay's having "lived with" Harald filled them with a sudden sense of the unsanctioned. They glanced stealthily around the chapel and noted for the nth time the absence of parents or any older person; and this departure from convention, which had been "such fun" before the service began, struck them now as queer and ominous. Even Elinor Eastlake, who knew scornfully well that fornication was not the type of impediment alluded to in the service, half expected an unknown presence to rise and stop the ceremony. To her mind, there was a spiritual obstacle to the marriage; she considered Kay a cruel, ruthless, stupid person who was marrying Harald from ambition.

Everyone in the chapel had now noticed something a little odd, or so it seemed, in the curate's pauses and stresses; they had never heard "their marriage is not lawful" delivered with such emphasis. On the groom's side, a handsome, auburn-haired, dissipated-looking young man clenched his fist suddenly and muttered something under his breath. He smelled terribly of alcohol and appeared extremely nervous; all through the ceremony, he had been clasping and unclasping his well-shaped, strong-looking hands and biting his chiseled lips. "He's a painter; he's just been divorced," whispered fair-haired Polly Andrews, who was the quiet type but who knew everything, on Elinor Eastlake's right. Elinor, like a young queen, leaned forward and deliberately caught his eye; here was someone, she felt, who was as disgusted and uncomfortable as she was. He responded with a stare of bitter, encompassing irony, followed by a wink directed, unmistakably, at the altar. Having moved into the main part of the service, the curate had now picked up speed, as though he had suddenly discovered another appointment and were running off this couple as rapidly as possible: this was only a $10 wedding, his manner seemed to imply. Behind her large hat, Kay appeared to be oblivious of all slights, but Harald's ears and neck had turned a darker red, and, in his responses, he began, with a certain theatrical flourish, to slow down and correct the minister's intonations.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Group by Mary McCarthy. Copyright © 1982 Mary McCarthy. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Group 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
nolagras More than 1 year ago
As much as things change, they remain the same--the women in the group are Vassar, class of 1933; McCarthy published her novel in 1963; I am reviewing it in 2013. At times, I was very conscious of differences between their world of experiences and ours today; within pages, I would be made painfully aware of how similar their world was to ours today: expectations for women, personally and professionally; relationships between women and men, women and women, parents and adult children. It is a must-read, as women continue to struggle to be who we want to be, even in the 21st century when people keep saying "we have it all."
Guest More than 1 year ago
This classic novel of eight women finding their way at a pivotal time for American women was a sensation and something of a scandal in the mid 60's with it's lesbian subtext (Candace Bergin made her film debut as the lesbian,FYI) but is now overlooked and forgotten to the general reading public and that's a damn shame. This is an epic novel of the changes women went through in the late 30's written with style and wit. A great read.
AnnieLiz More than 1 year ago
I could not finish this book. I found it to be the most tedious novel I've attempted to read in YEARS. I'm a voracious reader and can usually get emotionally involved in every book I open but not this one. The writing is flat and boring. Sentences run on and on and into each other with no pauses or breaks, and even halfway through the book not all the characters were fully developed yet. Every single one of them seem to spend their time whining and lamenting their "lack" of whatever they think is missing from their lives, although most of them apparently come from quite wealthy families. I was extremely disappointed and do not recommend this to anyone. It's gotten good reviews from so many, maybe I'm just borderline illiterate. Or too unsophisticated to get it . I don't know. But I recommend not wasting your money. Sorry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
the book is written with a keen sarcasm that sheds interesting light on women in the 30's.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had a hard time keeping up with each of the characters and keeping everyone straight, plus the book took me forever to get through. It just didn't keep my attention but I kept reading hoping it would reel me in. I also thought the ending was really uneventful. I didn't even realize I was even at the end. I expected more.
omniavanitas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'd always been curious about The Group, having attended Vassar (albeit well after McCarthy's day). This novel is enlightening and infuriating. Women's lives, even among the prosperous and educated, were so different less than century ago. Although the book skips around from character to character quickly, sometimes dropping storylines abruptly, McCarthy seems to provide just the right amount of information to allow the reader to draw her own conclusions. I was surprised at the frankness with which premarital sex and birth control were discussed. Very interesting.
TheAmpersand on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ouch! This one has not aged well at all. McCarthy follows a group of eight Vassar friends through their early adulthood. I can see why this book might have been something of a sensation in its day: the characters discuss sex, relationships and birth control forthrightly, and it's obvious that McCarthy wants to tell her curious readers all about the life that awaits modern working women after graduation. Still, her attempt at social realism is badly undercut by, among other things, the large amount of soap opera schmaltz that she throws into the mix. She has a bad habit of describing her characters by telling and not showing; some of her descriptions wouldn't be out of place in the captions to a Vogue fashion spread. McCarthy seems to do better when she gives her characters a bit more room to develop. A couple of her characters, such as Polly Andrews, a nurse, or Libby MacAusland, who wants to work in publishing, evolve into well-rounded protagonists, but, in this case, eight is probably too much. I suspect that "The Group" might have worked better if its membership had been cut in half. Also, while one hears a lot about "male" and "female" writing these days, McCarthy's prose strikes me as "female" in a particularly uncomplimentary way. Gossipy, prim, and condescending in more or less equal measure, McCarthy succeeds in making her college gals sound shallower and less intelligent than she probably intended. There are other problems here, too. While the blood at the Seven Sisters probably ran a bit bluer in the thirties than it did today, every member of the titular group seems to be wealthy, fashionable, and pretty. It's a pleasant-enough fantasy, sure, but it makes it difficult for this reader to take these characters, and the author who created them, very seriously. "The Group" suffers from an early version of what we might call the "Sex in the City" problem: McCarthy can't seem to decide whether she's critiquing her characters' privileged upbringings and social presumption or celebrating them. Too often, I feel it's the latter; the book is riddled with brand names, upper-class signifiers and loving descriptions of luxury goods. At the same time, she seems to vaguely resent her characters' presumably insincere dabbling in leftist politics, proving, perhaps, that some social grudges seem to seem to endure down through the generations. Heck, add a few tattoos, vegan tacos, and fixie bikes and "The Group" could tell the story of contemporary Brooklyn hipsters. I hope I haven't just given some aspiring writer an idea; I doubt very much that a Williamsburg version of "The Group" would be any better than McCarthy's original. Readers who don't go all soft when handsome young doctors propose marriage to their put-upon nurses are encouraged to skip this particular product of its time.
pinkcrayon99 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mary McCarthy wrote a book about the ¿real¿ issues women have when they graduate college and begin to start careers and families. The story was so engaging that I felt a part of The Group. Set in the 1930¿s during the Great Depression with all seven members of The Group being upper and middle class white women. The Group formed while the ladies were attending Vassar College. We begin our journey with them after their graduation from Vassar and in attendance at Kay and Harald¿s wedding. Kay was the glue of The Group but Lakey was the Queen Bee. Lakey was the flame and all the other girls were the moths. The privileged background of all the girls was laid out in specific detail until sometime you got bogged down just in the details. These ladies were a part of the high society and upper crust but they dealt with normal everyday issues like most women no matter the class. Each woman held a uniqueness that contributed to the entire Group. The Group ranged from the Stepford wives to the politically involved. The story stayed true to the era. This was an era where women were still testing the waters to see just how far they could break away from the ever so enforced gender roles. There is not an underlying ¿feminist¿ theme but there is a silent rebellion against husbands and ultra starchy mothers. These ladies were well educated and wanted a place in the workforce which was male dominated at the time. We read how one took her place, Libby. Libby was my least favorite character in the novel with Kay coming a close second. Libby was the critic with an air if ¿out do-ness.¿ Kay simply tried too hard and in the end it proved detrimental. My favorite would have to be Polly. Polly overcame all the odds and really found true happiness. She was the one member of The Group that did not have privilege to rely on. Of course there was a villain, who was an outsider that attended Vassar as well named Norine. Norine was t catalyst for the main turn of events. This definition of catalyst explains her actions perfectly: ¿ something that causes activity between two or more persons or forces without itself being affected.¿ There is no doubt that I fell in love with The Group. We begin with a wedding and end with a funeral. There is an amazing amount of life to deal with in between. The ladies are faced with losing virginity, marriage, domestic violence, adultery, breast feeding, insanity, and lesbianism. No matter what culture or class you belong to you will get lost in The Group.
kraaivrouw on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reading this book is like drinking a very dry gin martini (shaken, not stirred). Closely observed, carefully described, always acerbic - this was a real pleasure.I remember skimming through this at my Seattle grandmother's house when I was in high school. At that point I was mostly shocked that someone had written so frankly about sex during the 1930's ("They had SEX in the 1930's? Really?") - teenagers are always a bit surprised to discover a whole world out there that is outside of their own experience. I tucked the book away in the back of my mind as something I should read at some point. I am currently reading books that were published in my birth year and this was the first. If it is any evidence of the quality of writing in 1963 then it was a great year for more than just me! I was completely floored by how wonderful this book was.Written almost more as a series of short stories about the women in the group, the stories are tied together by Vassar, a wedding (at the beginning), and a funeral (at the end). In between are stories I will never forget. A Particular standout for me is Chapter 2, wherein Dottie loses her virginity. Ms. McCarthy truly captures the universal awkwardness of this event along with its own attendant pleasant surprises and does so in effortless intelligent prose. I loved one of the minor characters, Noreen Schmittlapp - utterly contemptible in some ways and yet so admirable in her ability to flaunt convention - she's a gorgeous counterpoint to some of the other more downtrodden and conventional characters.This book makes me grateful that I was born during the era of Our Bodies, Ourselves instead of relying on Kraft-Ebbing for my education on human sexuality. I am glad that I have more choices than these women did (What the hell did they get such great educations for, anyway, if all that was on offer was to keep house? Better cocktail party conversation?). I am glad that I can't be institutionalized for objecting to a spouse's affairs and physical abuse (at least not easily). I was just as struck, however, by the way some things endure - watch any one of the dozens of bridal shows on television right now and boggle along with me at the notion that this is a woman's only day, the most important dress she'll ever spend too much money on, the ne plus ultra of life - the more things change, the more they stay same (factoring in inflation, of course).
irishwasherwoman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An interesting read for 2009 since it was written 40+ years ago about women from the 30's. This novel follows the lives of 8 Vassar graduates from the Class of '33 - an age of rapidly changing mores for women. It addresses the conventions of friendship, marriage, child rearing, socialism, equality, and etiquette in a satirical and searing, although sometimes tiresome, way. It was insightful to think about the times of the setting, the writing, and the reading. This was my first McCarthy novel and definitely not my last.
daizylee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am in love with this book. And I've yet to meet anyone else who's read it. Read it, people!
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Extraordinary and important novel.
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This book stinks! I couldn't even finish it, and I never stop reading a book once I've started it. Don't waste your time people!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was considered daring and scandalous by my mother and her friends back in 1963, when I was ten, so I thought I would try it. Very dated, long winded exploration of sexuality and relationships starting in the 1930s. Unlikable characters. Discussions of archaic contraceptive methods go on forever. Some readers may find the domestic details such as the novelty of making casseroles in Pyrex dishes interesting. I read, then skimmed to see if things would pick up, then gave up.