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2 Burnside Literature- A to Z

This title in other editions

An Experiment in Love

by

An Experiment in Love Cover

ISBN13: 9780312426873
ISBN10: 0312426879
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

 
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year

 

It was the year after Chappaquiddick, and all spring Carmel McBain had watery dreams about the disaster. Now she, Karina, and Julianne were escaping the dreary English countryside for a London University hall of residence. Interspersing accounts of her current position as a university student with recollections of her childhood and an ever difficult relationship with her longtime schoolmate Karina, Carmel reflects on a generation of girls desiring the power of men, but fearful of abandoning what is expected and proper. When these bright but confused young women land in late 1960s London, they are confronted with a slew of new preoccupations--sex, politics, food, and fertility--and a pointless grotesque tragedy of their own.

 

Hilary Mantel's magnificent novel examines the pressures on women during the early days of contemporary feminism to excel--but not be too successful--in England's complex hierarchy of class and status.

Hilary Mantel's novels include the Orange Prize-shortlisted Beyond Black and A Place of Greater Safety. She lives in England.
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year

 

It was the year after Chappaquiddick, and all spring Carmel McBain had watery dreams about the disaster. Now she, Karina, and Julianne were escaping the dreary English countryside for a London University hall of residence. Interspersing accounts of her current position as a university student with recollections of her childhood and an ever difficult relationship with her longtime schoolmate Karina, Carmel reflects on a generation of girls desiring the power of men, but fearful of abandoning what is expected and proper. When these bright but confused young women land in late 1960s London, they are confronted with a slew of new preoccupations—sex, politics, food, and fertility—and a pointless grotesque tragedy of their own.

 

Hilary Mantel's magnificent novel examines the pressures on women during the early days of contemporary feminism to excel--but not be too successful--in England's complex hierarchy of class and status.

"Carmel McBain, the Anglo-Catholic narrator of Hilary Mantel's seventh novel, calls it a story about appetite—the appetite of girls from social and religious backgrounds in which it is customary to thwart female ambition and desire. This coming of age novel renders the narrow world of convent school—aertex blouses, Lourdes medals, the 'queasy mass of processed peas and tinned apricots' for lunch—in precise and oppressive detail. Carmel tries to move beyond all that, but feels ambivalent too, and struggles with anorexia before settling into suburban housewifery. There is little comfort to be taken from the story of Carmel's ultimately uncertain efforts to make a place for herself that is free of the isolation and jealousy of familiar class-bound England, but Mantel's lovely prose and dark humor, together with her irony and her hard-headed view of the tragedies of childhood, make this a stunning book."—The Boston Review
 
"Although Mantel is well known and highly praised in England, this is only the second of her seven novels to be published in the United States. As it begins, middle-aged, affluent suburbanite Carmel McBain sees a photo of her college roommate in the morning paper and flashes back to her first day at university, where she is asked to choose between the other two Holy Redeemer graduates attending her college. She picks Julianna, a popular and pampered girl, over her fellow scholarship student, Karina. Carmel's 'experiment in love' is multifaceted. It begins with her mother's desire to change the working-class Catholic girl from Lancaster into a typical English lady—an experiment that both succeeds and fails, as each of Carmel's successes widens the chasm between mother and daughter. The young college women also experiment with love and sex, as members of the first generation to claim the Pill as their birthright, and with sisterhood as they explore the relationship between self-interest and care of their neighbors."—Debbie Bogenschutz, Cincinnati Technical College, Library Journal
 
"Carmel McBain is a bright Lancashire-Irish child whose mother is fond of telling her, 'your father's not just a clerk, you know'—though, in fact, he is. As Carmel grows up, this snobbish tendency metamorphoses into the brutal driving force of the girl's young life. As a teenager, with ambition bullied into her, she alternates between nights spent locked in her room to study and days filled with the 'routine sarcasms of nuns.' Carmel's move from posh convent to London university is a lonely one; at school, she undergoes a disturbing loss of self-awareness. Between her mother's ruthlessness and the cruelties of the nuns, Carmel's self-worth has been damaged, with near fatal results. Mantel's seventh novel is a powerful coming-of-age story that meticulously highlights the patterns of self-inflicted cruelty sometimes taught to young women. It perfectly conveys the confusion of one contemporary Catholic girl, and provides a subtly moving take on the mystery of anorexia nervosa. Despite its grim subject, the writing, replete with sharp humor and evocative details of 1960s England, is never self-indulgent. Irony prevails stoutly over sentimentality, while the finale delivers a surprising twist of horror that will shake readers to the core."—Publishers Weekly

Synopsis:

Carmel McBain is the only child of working-class Irish-Catholic parents. Her mother aspires to something more for her than what life in their depressed mill town has to offer. She is ambitious for her daughter, determined that she slip through England's rigid social barriers. And so, early on, she pushes Carmel, first to gain a scholarship to the local convent school, then to sit the exams for a place at London University. And Carmel does not disappoint. But success carries with it a fearful price. It sets her on a lonely journey that will take her as far as possible from where she began, uprooting her from the ties of class and place, of family and faith. Uprooting her ultimately from her own self. A coming-of-age novel, a memoir of a Catholic childhood, a piercing and witty look at social pretensions, a story of lost possibilities and girlhood betrayals: perhaps only a novelist of Hilary Mantel's enormous talents could have taken such material and shaped it into so fresh and arresting a tale.

Synopsis:

 
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year

 

It was the year after Chappaquiddick, and all spring Carmel McBain had watery dreams about the disaster. Now she, Karina, and Julianne were escaping the dreary English countryside for a London University hall of residence. Interspersing accounts of her current position as a university student with recollections of her childhood and an ever difficult relationship with her longtime schoolmate Karina, Carmel reflects on a generation of girls desiring the power of men, but fearful of abandoning what is expected and proper. When these bright but confused young women land in late 1960s London, they are confronted with a slew of new preoccupations--sex, politics, food, and fertility--and a pointless grotesque tragedy of their own.

 

Hilary Mantel's magnificent novel examines the pressures on women during the early days of contemporary feminism to excel--but not be too successful--in England's complex hierarchy of class and status.

About the Author

Hilary Mantel's novels include the Orange Prize-shortlisted Beyond Black and A Place of Greater Safety. She lives in England.

 

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

julieb43, March 21, 2014 (view all comments by julieb43)
This is a slim novel, but it packs quite a punch. There are various issues simmering below the surface of this tale about female students at a London college in the late 1960s/early 1970s.

Hilary Mantel's writing is brilliant, full of sharp witty observances. The characters are not easily likable, but they are fascinating. The novel focuses mainly on class and gender issues. One of the characters is anorexic; several have abortions. The girls' lives are not easy whether they come from impoverished backgrounds or wealthy ones.

This is not a fast-paced story, but one full of psychological details and dark witticisms.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780312426873
Author:
Mantel, Hilary
Publisher:
Picador USA
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20070631
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
5.58x8.27x.71 in. .52 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

An Experiment in Love Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.50 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Picador USA - English 9780312426873 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Carmel McBain is the only child of working-class Irish-Catholic parents. Her mother aspires to something more for her than what life in their depressed mill town has to offer. She is ambitious for her daughter, determined that she slip through England's rigid social barriers. And so, early on, she pushes Carmel, first to gain a scholarship to the local convent school, then to sit the exams for a place at London University. And Carmel does not disappoint. But success carries with it a fearful price. It sets her on a lonely journey that will take her as far as possible from where she began, uprooting her from the ties of class and place, of family and faith. Uprooting her ultimately from her own self. A coming-of-age novel, a memoir of a Catholic childhood, a piercing and witty look at social pretensions, a story of lost possibilities and girlhood betrayals: perhaps only a novelist of Hilary Mantel's enormous talents could have taken such material and shaped it into so fresh and arresting a tale.
"Synopsis" by ,
 
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year

 

It was the year after Chappaquiddick, and all spring Carmel McBain had watery dreams about the disaster. Now she, Karina, and Julianne were escaping the dreary English countryside for a London University hall of residence. Interspersing accounts of her current position as a university student with recollections of her childhood and an ever difficult relationship with her longtime schoolmate Karina, Carmel reflects on a generation of girls desiring the power of men, but fearful of abandoning what is expected and proper. When these bright but confused young women land in late 1960s London, they are confronted with a slew of new preoccupations--sex, politics, food, and fertility--and a pointless grotesque tragedy of their own.

 

Hilary Mantel's magnificent novel examines the pressures on women during the early days of contemporary feminism to excel--but not be too successful--in England's complex hierarchy of class and status.

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