Country Girl

“Country Girl” makes it plain that [Edna] O’Brien was near the red-hot center of the Swinging ’60s in London. She dropped acid with her psychiatrist, R D. Laing. Among those who came to her parties were Marianne Faithfull, Sean Connery, Princess Margaret and Jane Fonda.

Richard Burton and Marlon Brando tried to get Ms. O’Brien into bed. Robert Mitchum succeeded in doing so, wooing her with this pickup line: “I bet you wish I was Robert Taylor, and I bet you never tasted white peaches.”


For reasons that I've never been able to figure out, the Irish novelist Edna O'Brien has never been a major figure in academic gender studies circles. Her writing is great when she's on, but I've always pictured her as a disheveled beauty stepping out from her isolated country cottage to curse you out for some obscure reason. Her brand of bad-girl persona has gone out of style, and academic readers prefer more urbane figures, which is too bad. There's no one else like her. The place to start with her is A Fanatic Heart (1984).

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