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The Seven Sisters (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 3 Nov 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (3 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141197293
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141197296
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 73,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Elegiac, offbeat and moving (Mail on Sunday)

About the Author

Margaret Drabble was born in 1939 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, the daughter of barrister and novelist John F. Drabble, and sister of novelist A.S. Byatt. She is the author of seventeen novels and eight works of non-fiction, including biographies of Arnold Bennett and Angus Wilson. In 1980, Margaret Drabble was made a CBE and in 2008 she was made DBE. She is married to the biographer Michael Holroyd, and lives in London and Somerset.

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I have just got back from my Health Club. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Ms. M. Wilde on 1 Oct. 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Margaret Drabble - from her first book - charted the progress of the English family life in the welfare state. Her keen eye for detail makes readers nostalgic for years less influenced by television. Her protagonists were energetic, larky intelligent women. Candida Wilton - the diarist of "Seven Sisters" is the older version of those amazing characters and so, a bit slower. When the book opens, Candida has been living alone for a couple of years since being supplanted by a younger woman. Her headmaster ex-husband and her daughters having reduced her to invisible wife-work - they don't appear to notice she has gone. By now, she has come to terms with solitude, managing a small budget and coping. It sounds depressing but domesticated wives are watchers, and slowly her wry, crafty humour emerges into the diary. The spirited young woman she must have been, made her choose a flat in a mixed area of West London - very unlike the Georgian house in Sussex she left behind. Candida's life started to change when the building where she took evening classes was redeveloped into a health club, and she was encouraged to join. The flattening of her personality from a long boring marriage, begins to open out - she suggests the old classmates meet to continue their study. They discuss travelling to the Mediterranean to follow in the footsteps of Virgil's story. Then an unexpected windfall encourages her to organise the trip - six assorted intelligent women - and an exotic tour operator who drives their vehicle - makes seven. The grey of Ladbroke Grove explodes into brilliant colour and they start their great adventure. The atmosphere of symbolism & legend is beautifully maintained - a kind of tranquility produced by supportive companions on a pilgimage together.Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By LindyLouMac on 11 Nov. 2008
Format: Paperback
I have not read Margaret Drabble's entire extensive list of novels, but I have always enjoyed them from as far back as I can recall. I think the first one I read was Jerusalem the Golden in 1967 and over forty years later she is still writing entertaining and literary novels.
The humour and excellent characterisation is up to the author's normal high standards.
`The Seven Sisters' is not written in chapters but in four parts, which made it a little harder to know at what point to stop for sleep, although it is mostly divided into journal type entries. Part One `Her Diary' consists of the journal entries of the protagonist Candida Wilton describing the changes in her lifestyle as a recently divorced woman who has moved from Suffolk to London. She describes her circumstances both past and present and introduces us through her diary to her friends old and new. An unexpected windfall leads her and a group of friends to plan a cultural trip to Tunisia and Italy. Part Two `An Italian Journey' describes the journey of the seven sisters, Candida, Cynthia Barclay, Ida Jerrold, Sally Hepburn, Julia Jordan, Anais Al-Sayyab and Valeria. The latter is the guide for the trip, making the seventh and the rest are friends of Candida's old and new. We follow the ladies as friendships are strengthened on the journey that most of them have long dreamed of to Tunis, Naples and Pompeii in the footsteps of Virgil's Aeneid. Part Three titled `Ellen's Version was for me a complete and unexpected twist to the tale. As was the final twist and ending in Part Four `A Dying Fall' to say more here will spoil it for other readers.

This novel will probably appeal to women of a certain age; whether or not they are already fans of Margaret Drabble.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 Aug. 2003
Format: Paperback
This is the first Drabble book I have read and I enjoyed the first three quarters (probably a little more) very much indeed. Undoubtedly women of a certain age and trauma (myself included) will have a lot in common with the storyline - but the humour and characters in the book stop this being "typical". At a time when I was finding it hard to read, this book really did draw me into the narrative very quickly and I very much liked the motley collection of characters the book draws together. Whilst the end is not all it could be the majority of the book is well worth that disappointment (which you see coming anyway). This is one I shall be giving out as birthday presents this coming year with no problems whatsoever.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Caroline P. Hampton on 5 Mar. 2003
Format: Hardcover
I'm a newcomer to the work of Margaret Drabble and from what I can tell she isn't someone that writes books that I would normally gravitate towards but, I must say I really enjoyed "The Seven Sisters." It's a mature work with mature characters - and I found myself savoring the language and quality of Ms. Drabble's talent.
This story of "starting over" was rich with tone and intelligence. It's literature in the true sense of the word and I really enjoyed stretching myself and trying something new.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nice Irma on 22 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
This is the second Margaret Drabble book I've read and it won't be the last. Rarely have I enjoyed the first half of a book so much. The character of depressed, intellegent Candida Wilton is beautifully drawn and the reader is instantly sucked into her world as an outsider in Ladbroke Grove. There are a number of odd encounters and quirky events all described in a highly entertaining way. The description of the Health club was wonderful. The seven sisters themselves are colourful and yet believable. I particularly liked Drabble's study of the relationship between Candida and her monster friend, Sally.

Reaching the end of Part Two - Italian Journey, it seemed to me to be a crime that the book has not yet been adapted for film as it has all the ingredients. But then I hit Part Three - Ellen's Version, and I saw why. My heart sunk as the pace braked sharply and the plot veered off cutting the magic short. For me this chapter pretending to be written by Candida's favourite daughter was a literary mechanism that didn't quite work.

However, by the end of the book Candida's life has become quietly upbeat and perhaps her improved relationship with Ellen, fortnightly Bridge at Mrs Jerrold and trips to the cinema with Cynthia and Anais is the realistic conclusion. But I couldn't help wanting more for funny old Candida! The finish does not live up to the novel's 5 star sparkling start and middle. For this reason I've knocked off a star.
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