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The Company She Keeps Unknown Binding – 1 Jan 1959

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  • Unknown Binding
  • ASIN: B00192CPJC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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SHE could not bear to hurt her husband. Read the first page
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Walter M. Holmes on 16 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback
In her interesting and helpful introduction to this novel Paula McLain writes, "I don't believe any of her (later) efforts matched the audacity, aplomb, and sheer literary merit of The Company She Keeps." I have not read enough of Mary McCarthy to be able to endorse this opinion but I certainly do not find it surprising. The courage, self-awareness and honesty of the then young author are very impressive.
The six stories which combine to form the structure of the novel reveal incidents in the early life of its heroine, Margaret Sargent, who defines herself as a bohemian and whose personality and emotions are brought into sharp focus. Her various relationships and encounters with men, are observed with forensic acuity, and described with wit and an alarmingly clear perception. They accumulate to give a disturbing picture of this modern young American. It seems that much is based on Mary McCarthy's own early experiences. The style, almost that of a dispassionate onlooker, maintains a distance and created a sense of objectivity. The novel captures significant episodes and allows the reader to determine the level of intensity. The heroine appears as an individual, rather than any kind of stereotype. Meg is determined, witty, politically involved, and an accomplished writer. Rather like her creator in fact!
But a far more sinister McCarthy was waiting in the wings and the reactionary United States of Richard Yates' Revolutionary Road was two decades away. Certain freedoms in behaviour may be more generally acceptable nowadays but I fear that freedom of thought is still at a premium. Conventions differ and behaviour that may have once seemed shocking is now perhaps commonplace. But the forces of reaction and repression are never very far away!
This very readable, often amusing, novel was initially published at the onset of the Second World War and may now seem to be rather dated. But it certainly has style!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Javaslublu Books on 27 Aug. 2008
Format: Paperback
After a Reno divorce Margaret Sargent, an attractive and intelligent girl, finds herself floundering in a world of casual affairs and squalid intimacies. She is in full revolt against society. But her new Bohemian life never achieves her own approval. The agony of repeated rejection and despair finally forces a strict reckoning on this lost, likeable figure
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By jane on 21 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback
I don't like giving up on books, especially when I'm more than halfway through them. After 7 pages of Chapter 5 (Portrait of the Intellectual as a Yale Man), however, I had to consign this one to the charity shop pile for fear of expiring from boredom. The detailed analysis of Jim Barnett's life is deadly dull; I did not care enough about about him to carry on; the story wasn't going anywhere. Unlike other novels of the near past - the brilliant Revolutionary Road comes to mind - I found this one dated.
But I did enjoy Chapter 3 (The Man in the Brooks Brothers Shirt) which was pretty daring for the early 1940's. And she is an honest writer.
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