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The Seven Sisters

Drabble, Margaret

1,234 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0151007403 / ISBN 13: 9780151007400
Published by Harcourt, New York, 2002
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Daniel Montemarano (Newfield, NJ, U.S.A.)

AbeBooks Seller Since November 23, 2001

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About this Item

1st US Edition/1st Printing. SIGNED by author on a bookplate affixed to front end page (signature only). DJ has crease on front flap. $25.00 price present on DJ flap. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 023571

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Seven Sisters

Publisher: Harcourt, New York

Publication Date: 2002

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

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.

Review:

It's hard to get across just how flat-out thrilling, how readable, how absorbing is Margaret Drabble's novel The Seven Sisters. It sounds positively dull when you describe it: Candida Wilton, a faculty wife of late middle age, has been dumped by her allegedly do-gooder husband. Her three daughters aren't too impressed with her, either. The mousy Candida decamps to an inglorious flat in London, where she measures out her time in visits to the health club, trips to the grocery store, and her weekly evening class on Virgil. She tentatively makes a few new friends and rediscovers some old ones. This opening section of the book, told in diary form, is a marvel of tone. With very little action, Drabble makes Candida's forays into the world quietly electrifying. One of her new pleasures is recording in her diary her mounting dislike of her ex-husband. You sense a giddy freedom: "Andrew had come to seem to me to be the vainest, the most self-satisfied, the most self-serving hypocrite in England. That kindly twinkle in his eyes had driven me to the shores of madness."

Ah, but there's more life for Candida yet. A small, unexpected inheritance is left to her, and so she organizes her friends--all female, mostly aged, mostly unmarried--into a tour of Naples as Virgil describes it in The Aeneid. Their holiday is a fictional tour-de-force: by turns a hilarious send-up of group dynamics, a metafictional lark, a feminist rant, and a dark acknowledgement of Candida's mortality. In the end, Drabble's novel is a very serious one, and a very good one. --Claire Dederer

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