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Girl in the Head Paperback – 26 Feb 1981


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Distribution Services; New edition edition (26 Feb. 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006161944
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006161943
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 10.8 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 774,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

J.G. Farrell was born in Liverpool in 1935 and spent a good deal of his life abroad, including periods in France and North America, and then settled in London where he wrote most of his novels. In April 1979 he went to live in County Cork where only four months later he was drowned in a fishing accident.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Fitzpatrick on 16 Feb. 2015
Format: Paperback
J. G Farrell is probably best known for his novels marking the decline of the British Empire - "Troubles", The Siege of Krishnapur" and "The Singapore Grip" - but I reckon this earlier book is much better and certainly more entertaining.

The main character, a middle-aged fantasist called Boris who lives in a dull English seaside resort with his washed-out wife and her infuriating family, is a marvelous creation.

Boris is presented as a Polish count with a rakish cosmopolitan past - a horseman, seducer and bon viveur who has ended up in this dead end spot as the tides of fortune turned against him.

Although he can back up these golden memories with a photograph album, the reader is never sure how much of his recollections are true.

His fantasy world ratchets up a gear when a beautiful young Swedish girl called Inez comes to stay as a guest at the family home but his hopes of recapturing his youth are quickly dashed as his attempts to impress her fall flat and he has to accept that his present life is all that is left for him.

At times, Farrell goes a bit overboard with his symbolism, such as the scenes of the young dark-haired Italian boy, Alessandro, thundering across the beach on a white horse with a scarlet riding cape flowing behind him.

In fact, Alessandro and Inez are appendages and rather shadowy compared with the other memorable characters - deaf Granny Dongeon, bumbling Old Dongeon, lecherous Maurice Dongeon and Boris's tragic wife, Flower.

This was the fourth time I have read this book over a period of 30 years and it has improved with every read. I find it difficult to believe that it appears to be out of print and that only one person has reviewed it on the UK Amazon site and no-one on the US site.
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By Ken Oldfield on 1 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Another unusual (early) book by Farrell.
I 'discovered' him relatively recently starting with The Troubles, The Seige of Krishnapur, and The Songapore Grip and then The Hill Station.
For me, the Singapore Grip was the best -- and the least 'fantastic'.
The Girl in the Head reminded me slightly of Lolita and Death in Venice with a rather sad middle aged man dreaming of how things might have been.
However, Farrell writes (wrote) well and the story is entertaining. Always fascinating to read.
I'm trying to get my hands on his earlier work, The Lung. Does anyone out there have a copy?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
Farrell at his best 16 Feb. 2015
By John Fitzpatrick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
J. G Farrell is probably best known for his novels marking the decline of the British Empire - "Troubles", The Siege of Krishnapur" and "The Singapore Grip" - but I reckon this earlier book is much better and certainly more entertaining.

The main character, a middle-aged fantasist called Boris who lives in a dull English seaside resort with his washed-out wife and her infuriating family, is a marvelous creation.

Boris is presented as a Polish count with a rakish cosmopolitan past - a horseman, seducer and bon viveur who has ended up in this dead end spot as the tides of fortune turned against him.

Although he can back up these golden memories with a photograph album, the reader is never sure how much of his recollections are true.

His fantasy world ratchets up a gear when a beautiful young Swedish girl called Inez comes to stay as a guest at the family home but his hopes of recapturing his youth are quickly dashed as his attempts to impress her fall flat and he has to accept that his present life is all that is left for him.

At times, Farrell goes a bit overboard with his symbolism, such as the scenes of the young dark-haired Italian boy, Alessandro, thundering across the beach on a white horse with a scarlet riding cape flowing behind him.

In fact, Alessandro and Inez are appendages and rather shadowy compared with the other memorable characters - deaf Granny Dongeon, bumbling Old Dongeon, lecherous Maurice Dongeon and Boris's tragic wife, Flower.

This was the fourth time I have read this book over a period of 30 years and it has improved with every read. I find it difficult to believe that it appears to be out of print and I am the first person to review it on the US Amazon site.
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