The Seven Sisters (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 3 Nov 2011
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Loved this sensitive novel about a complex divorcee struggling to make a new life for herself. I enjoyed Margaret Drabble's very realistic and perceptive account of mundane living;... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Ged
Bit of an odd tale really. I have had this book for quite a while and took it on a journey with me when I had a mini break recently. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mrs. Joanne Price
Drabble finds her old form here, not finished yet, but loving it .Published 5 months ago by Mrs Margaret M Hewitt
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
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 on 13 Dec. 2013 by Mrs Jeanne Devine