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The Group (Harvest Book) Paperback – Sep 1991


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Product details

  • Paperback: 492 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reissue edition (Sep 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156372088
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156372084
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 14 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,493,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

The perfect example of competitive friendship and a reminder that rivalry is normal (Psychologies)

*'A brilliant novel:honest, engaging and sharp as a tack (Sarah Waters)

*'One of my favourite books ever (India Knight)

Lively, vivid and exceedingly entertaining (SUNDAY TIMES)

Juicy, shocking, witty, and almost continually brilliant (COSMOPOLITAN) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

The original SEX AND THE CITY. First published in 1963, THE GROUP, set in the 1930s, follows the lives of eight college friends as they begin their adult lives.

'A brilliant novel:honest, engaging and sharp as a tack' Sarah Waters

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Sep 1999
Format: Paperback
The Group, by Mary McCarthy
The Group is the best-known of all novels written by Mary McCarthy. This glamorous American intellectual has Catholic, Jewish and Protestant origins, which inspired her recollection of childhood Memories of a Catholic Girlhood. She was married to the famous critic Edmund Wilson, and played an outstanding role in the jet-set of Letters in the United States at the time. The Group is a novel which is bound to be of interest mainly to women readers. It tells the story of 8 girls who start life after university, in 1933. However, it doesn't turn out to be outdated at all. These 8 women are all very different. They all studied at Vassar, but their families are not all that rich, especially because of the Depression, a topic very much discussed by most of the characters, who don't agree completely with Roosevelt policies. These girls differ also in personality, and therefore they settle down in very different jobs and marriages. Mary McCarthy covers their lives until 1940, and this allows her to cover as well a very wide range of issues: contraception, the theoretical points in the upbringing of children, the loss of virginity, the hassle of housework and early married life, loneliness, lesbianism, adultery... We even get a very funny and ironical picture of a young woman writer as she tries to make her way through the obstacles of the editorial world... It seems that Mary McCarthy has chosen fragmentary structure (each chapter is centred on one of the girls) and multiple character with the intention to show all the different aspects of the lives of contemporary women. Thus, what we get is not really several particular women, but the image of the new Woman. However, the novel is very entertaining and it achieves its objective.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Liveing on 1 April 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I broke my arm on a recent ski trip I met an extremely nice lady sitting next to me in a mountain-top bar who was also unable to ski. I discovered she was the former literary editor of the Mail on Sunday and she what I was reading (Wedlock by Wendy Moore - excellent book) and similarly I asked her what she was reading. "The Group" she replied and talked very highly of it. I thought that if it was a recommendation from the former literary editor of the Mail on Sunday I should definitely read it.

I'm so glad she recommended it. I struggled a bit through the first chapter trying to get into it but because I can't drive at the moment I have a bit more time on my hands so I was able to read chunks rather than a few pages at a time. This is definitely a book that you need to take time to read. There are few breaks, the chapters are long and there are long paragraphs. Once I'd accepted the layout I quickly got into the book.

I didn't go to university, much less in 30's America but this book conjures up such descriptive images of the social etiquette of the day, the fashions, politics, literature and more. Mary McCarthy went to Vassar herself in the 30's so I'm sure much of what she has written was based on fact. Pre-marital sex, affairs, one night stands, contraception, relationships it's all here. The language too is very much of the day although the book was first published in 1963. I can completely understand why it went into the bestsellers list and stayed there for 2 years.

I am not a fan of Sex in the City but this book is exactly that but circa 1930's NYC. I will definitely read this again which I rarely do.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By R. A. Collins on 4 July 2010
Format: Paperback
I'm quite surprised at the negative comments in the reviews for this book. I haven't even finished it yet but feel compelled to write a review. I am loving this book - it is a real gem. The themes it covers: sex, marriage, relationships, motherhood, breastfeeding, mental health, and friendships are as relevant today as they must have been 80 years ago. I only wish I'd found this book when I was in my early twenties. I have found this book hard to put down and I haven't got to the end yet. It isn't a light read (and I think the references to Sex And The City a little misleading - there are similarities - a bunch of young women coping with life and men in New York) but I am thoroughly enjoying this book and hope to read it again one day.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jool on 6 Oct 2011
Format: Paperback
The writing feels surprisingly modern. Made me think of Ayn Rand and Edith Wharton in a way. I love the way Mary McCarthy allows her characters time to talk and think, and their different perspectives. But still not a word too much. Can't wait to read more of her books.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. CM Cole on 9 Aug 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I read this book, when I was sixteen, in the sixties it made a lasting impression. It is a book I have intended to reread over the years. The reread did not disappoint. The characters are vivid, the setting is now significantly historical. It reminds me of Jane Austen in 1930s USA.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Gowers on 11 May 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have picked this up more than once and considered reading it - even started it on one occasion. I gave up -but this time, because it was a book group suggestion, I stuck with it. It is not an easy read, but it is rewarding. I am so glad I persevered, and now understand why it's stood the test of time and considered an important book.
I wouldn't call it a feminist book. It's about a group of Vassar educated women of the 1930s, and the society they inhabited and how the issues of those days affected their lives. Believe me, those issues resonate today, and probably did for our mothers, and probably will for our daughters- particularly those about child rearing and feeding.
Some of the characters I found tedious and annoying, but I think they were bravely meant to be. Most were moving and some were uplifting and funny. This book is a complex, intricate, many shaded work of verbal tapestry, and if you read it I wonder which character will appeal to you most and why. That question was so entertainingly answered at our book group.
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