A "New York Times Book Review" Notable Book of the Year
It was the year after Chappaquiddick, and all spring Carmel McBain had watery dreams about the disaster. Now she, Karina, and Julianne were escaping the dreary English countryside for a London University hall of residence. Interspersing accounts of her current position as a university student with recollections of her childhood and an ever difficult relationship with her longtime schoolmate Karina, Carmel reflects on a generation of girls desiring the power of men, but fearful of abandoning what is expected and proper. When these bright but confused young women land in late 1960s London, they are confronted with a slew of new preoccupations--sex, politics, food, and fertility--and a pointless grotesque tragedy of their own.
Hilary Mantel's magnificent novel examines the pressures on women during the early days of contemporary feminism to excel--but not be "too" successful--in England's complex hierarchy of class and status.
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"With all its brilliance, its sharpness, and its clear-eyed wit, "An Experiment in Love" is a haunting book."--Margaret Atwood, "The New York Times Book Review" "Mantel has several points in common with Graham Greene: she can make your flesh creep with horror and especially with the apprehension of it."--"New York Review of Books" "Terrifically satisfying."--"Elle"From the Back Cover:
Carmel McBain is the only child of working-class Irish-Catholic parents. Her mother aspires to something more for her than what life in their depressed mill town has to offer. She is ambitious for her daughter, determined that she slip through England's rigid social barriers. And so, early on, she pushes Carmel, first to gain a scholarship to the local convent school, then to sit the exams for a place at London University. And Carmel does not disappoint. But success carries with it a fearful price. It sets her on a lonely journey that will take her as far as possible from where she began, uprooting her from the ties of class and place, of family and faith. Uprooting her ultimately from her own self. A coming-of-age novel, a memoir of a Catholic childhood, a piercing and witty look at social pretensions, a story of lost possibilities and girlhood betrayals: perhaps only a novelist of Hilary Mantel's enormous talents could have taken such material and shaped it into so fresh and arresting a tale.
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Book Description Penguin, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 140243755