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The Company She Keeps (VMC Book 349) [Kindle Edition]

Mary McCarthy , Paula McLain
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
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Book Description

THE COMPANY SHE KEEPS follows a young bohemian intellectual, Margaret Sargent, through her experiences and lost loves in a time of coming war.

Experimental in style, each section of the book describes separate episodes in the main character's life from different viewpoints. The novel begins with the young woman en route to New York, and goes on to paint a satirical portrait of the intellectuals of the time, then depicts the failure of a marriage and ends from the couch as she explores her identity through psychoanalysis.

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Product Description


A consummate piece of work (Norman Mailer)

McCarthy exposes the complex psychological workings of a brilliant, tortured and manipulative mind . . . Timeless, brilliant and frighteningly insightful (Daily Mail)

McCarthy may be best known for The Group but her debut novel made nearly as much of a splash when [first] published in 1942 . . . A jagged diamond of a book, the multifaceted parts giving a glimpse of a brilliant but fractured whole (Observer)

Book Description

Published in 1942, Mary McCarthy's first novel creates a fascinating portrait of a 1930s New York social circle.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 776 KB
  • Print Length: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Virago (3 Nov. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844085945
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844085941
  • ASIN: B005O6YMRC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #195,845 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bohemian Girl 16 Mar. 2012
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Synopsis 27 Aug. 2008
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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3.0 out of 5 stars Quite tedious 21 Oct. 2012
By jane
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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5.0 out of 5 stars The Company She Probably Kept 29 April 2015
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is classic Mary McCarthy, and a very interesting read. I suspect there is a lot of personal experience wrapped into these stories. Not so much a novel as a group of interesting and bitter sweet short stories using the same main character throughout. They were most likely controversial when first published, as was The Group in its day. A very good read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ahead of her time 4 Sept. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Brilliantly written, sharp and poignant, this is an exceptional book. Mary McCarthy observes life with a paradoxically cool eye and heartfelt connection. She is ahead of her time and yet reflects perfectly the time and place from whence she writes - Bohemian New York of the intelligentsia during the 1930s and 40s. Margaret Sheridan's life is related through a series of liason's with various men who ultimately misuse and disappoint her. As someone once admired in McCarthy - her ultimate mission seems to be to unearth truth, no matter how shameful, for in the long run it is the only authentic way to be. It also takes us to a place of understanding, rather than judgement and this is, I think, the most striking aspect of 'The Company She Keeps'.
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