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

3.9 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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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: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 273,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Elegiac, offbeat and moving (Mail on Sunday)

From the Inside Flap

From the celebrated author of The Peppered Moth and The Witch of Exmoor, a splendid novel about starting over late in life
Candida Wilton-a woman recently betrayed, rejected, divorced, and alienated from her three grown daughters-moves from a beautiful Georgian house in lovely Suffolk to a two-room walk-up flat in a run-down building in central London. Candida is not exactly destitute. So is the move perversity, she wonders, a survival test, or is she punishing herself? How will she adjust to this shabby, menacing, but curiously appealing city? What can happen, at her age, to change her life? And yet, as she climbs the dingy communal staircase with her suitcases, she feels both nervous and exhilarated.
There is a relationship with a computer to which she now confides her past and her present. And friendships of sorts with other women - widows, divorced, never married, women straddled between generations. And then Candida's surprise inheritance...
A beautifully rendered story, this is Margaret Drabble at her novelistic best.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This novel is a little dated now, but I am enjoying it so far. It deals with the subject of a women who finds herself on her own after years of marriage, and how she copes with this and her lack of confidence/self esteem. It speaks to many of us I feel.
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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You will probably enjoy this novel if you are, as I am, a woman of similar age to the author and already a Drabble fan. Otherwise, I would not recommend it.
I got the impression that Margaret Drabble wrote it with no clear idea where it was going or how to resolve it. Unless I missed their significance, there are characters and incidents which lead nowhere, and points in the book where the plot veers drastically, and unconvincingly, in a different direction.
Nevertheless, the main body of the novel, concerning the seven womens' excursion to the Mediterranean in the steps of Virgil's Aeneid is very enjoyable and the book is worth reading for this alone.
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