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The Seven Sisters [Paperback]

Margaret Drabble
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Feb 2003

Candida Wilton has been ignored by her husband and children for years, before being displaced by a younger woman. Moving to London, alone, divorced and without much money, it seems she will now enjoy a life only of small pleasures: trips to the gym, visits to her reading group. When she receives an unexpected windfall, Candida gathers together six travelling companions - women friends from childhood, from married life and after - and maps out a journey she has long dreamed of, around Tunis, Naples and Pompeii, where her grey city lifecan blossom into one of colour and adventure.

In The Seven Sisters, Margaret Drabble captures the wonder of second chances with dry wit, honesty and immaculate observation.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd (6 Feb 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141013710
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141013718
  • Product Dimensions: 17.9 x 11.1 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,284,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Elegiac, offbeat and moving (Mail on Sunday ) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On the Top of her Form 1 Oct 2002
Format:Paperback|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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining 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
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the flawed end 12 Aug 2003
By A Customer
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
4.0 out of 5 stars A Nice Change Of Pace 5 Mar 2003
Format:Paperback
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant ! 30 Nov 2013
By sitges
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
So well written and with such acute observations of people and getting older !!
Recommend to those of the' third age'
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real people, real lives, all confused 10 Jun 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
The Seven Sisters is a superb novel by Margaret Drabble. Seven characters - who all happen to be women - eventually find themselves on a classically-inspired Mediterranean journey. It is a trip of literary and perhaps psychological significance. Thus extracted from their respective comfort zones - if comfort is a relevant term to describe their life-scarred lives - they react individually to their collective experience in quite different ways, differences driven by personality and personal history. But almost defiantly they remain a group determined to share the experience.

The central character of the book, Candida Wilton, became a Virgilian. Attending a class to study the Aeneid provided the label and the partially adopted identity. There were others involved, of course, all under the splendid wing of an aging retired classics teacher.

Candida has moved to London from Suffolk. Approaching sixty, she finds herself single again, divorced from a husband who has sought more tender pastures in which to graze. Occasionally she blames herself for his desertion, especially when reality focuses attention on herself. Somewhat surprisingly Candida is also estranged from her three daughters, an estrangement for which she usually takes responsibility. Reality may have offered a different interpretation and indeed at one point we believe we are getting one. Like may aspects of reality, the experience proves illusory.

So now alone, after the gentility and perhaps predictability of rural married life, Candida's move to a small flat in a none too salubrious area of west London presents something of a challenge. As she embarks upon her fight for independence, Candida keeps a diary in which she records events, reflections, descriptions, and almost anything that is commonplace.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Quick delivery.
Nice book.
Published 1 month ago by Inger Ørgaard
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
An interesting story well written.
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. O. Green
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very good
Published 2 months ago by Mr.B.W.Wood
3.0 out of 5 stars Margaret Drabble always a good read
I have always enjoyed her books but this one
is a bit disappointing. The plot does not seem credible.
The writing is very amusing, very sharp. Read more
Published 7 months ago by bernadette watts
5.0 out of 5 stars The Seven Sisters by Margaret Drabble
I thoroughly enjoyed this book except for the very abrupt ending which surprised and disappointed me. Apart from that the plot was interesting and held my attention throughout.
Published 9 months ago by Mrs Jeanne Devine
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read
I loved this book. It was beautifully written and engaging, but it is not a quick read; it deserves some consideration. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Mrs Maria Barrett
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
A very moving story with some wonderful descriptions of suffolk and italy i had not read this writer before but now have bought other titles
Published 18 months ago by H. W. K. Kiff
5.0 out of 5 stars The Seven Sisters
This is amusing, very well written, full of surprising twists. I enjoyed it very much and was sorry when it ended. I have already recommended to several friends as a good read/
Published 19 months ago by Judy Corry
4.0 out of 5 stars the seven Sisters by Margaret Drabble
Margaret Drabble never disappoints.This book is unusual and very close to the hearts of many older women who are alone after a long marriage. It is moving and witty, a good read.
Published 19 months ago by Doreen heals
1.0 out of 5 stars the seven sisters
This book wasn't for me,it didn't hold any interest for me at all.I just couldn't get into it.Didn't like it at all. perhaps it's for a younger reader.
Published on 7 April 2012 by lucy
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