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August is a Wicked Month

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After being brought as low as possible, Ellen does find her way back to herself and living her life. A week into her leave, a male friend she’s known for about a year drops by and kisses her in the garden.

This book explores the complex feelings of balancing your identity between your inner self, a self who is a wife, and a mother. The character of Ellen is so unformed, her hair color keeps changing, and I don't mean because she dyes it. It is an homage to internal thought and introspection, reminding me in many ways of Kate Chopin's The Awakening, Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, and Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. A short novel, it is nevertheless jam-packed with the O'Brien's trademark haunting prose - in her best works ( House of Splendid Isolation, In the Forest), her trance-like writing is both comforting and harrowing - often at the very same time.She languishes on in France where flirting now becomes a compulsive distraction as well as a physical need. Embora a escrita seja muito mais simples e linear, a sua capacidade de surpreender e de tocar aspectos brutais da vida de uma forma crua e ao mesmo tempo tão verdadeira que nos arrebata, está cá.

Banned in several countries on first publication, Edna O’Brien’s August is a Wicked Monthis a shimmering, sensual tale of a woman rediscovering herself – and it feels just as glorious, radical, and escapist as today. Later she meets a group of wealthy party-goers who explore the Riviera, beaches, restaurants and a fabulous French mansion. Also she oftentimes remembers her son and whenever she does, she loses interest on the man who is raring to go to bed with her. I really didn't find much to enjoy in this novel whose main protagonist Ellen, left home alone while her son goes on holiday with his father, decides to take a holiday in France to rediscover some excitement in her life.

There's also a totally unexpected and where-in-the-hell-did-that-come-from tragedy, that I found unnecessary to the plot and weird. She tells her new acquaintances that she’s English to avoid uncomfortable conversations about religion and Catholicism. There, she meets all sorts of people including lesbians and gay men but she realizes that she is not really looking for sex because she does not get interested even on a good-looking actor. This is not a book I will recommend to most people as many of my friends do not like unsavory characters and negative emotions. Her husband and son would not be back for a week or more and she would lie in a strange new place and let strange new things happen to her.

To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Given the significant esteem in which O'Brien appears to be held, I will be intrigued to read others' views as it seems the book must have powers to touch other people in ways that just didn't resonate with me. It’s excellent… I liked the cool restrained style of the prose and was stunned by the revelation that changes the whole feel of the story. After a number of false starts with hotel staff, Ellen falls in with a louche crowd of hangers-on surrounding an American film star. While I'd actually give this something like 3 1/2 stars, I bumped it up to 4 because even lesser O'Brien beats so much of what I've read lately - and this book is nearly as old as I am.As needs must with novels of this type it was quite short, only 138 pages long, so if you are unsure of it at least it will not be a lot of time spent. It made me think about so much and I can see from having re-read the earlier sections that O’Brien had carefully plotted the entire story arc. Edna O’Brien is an award-winning Irish author of novels, plays, and short stories, has been hailed as one of the greatest chroniclers of the female experience in the twentieth century.

When the month started, we noted that Edna O'Brien once labelled August as a 'wicked month' - and as the month comes to a close, it must be admitted that it has fully lived up to its billing.

Irish, cottage, poor, typical, pink cheeks, came to be a nurse in London, loved by all the patients, loved being loved, ran from the operating theatre because one of those patients who had a cancer, was just opened and closed again, met a man who liked the nursemaid in me, married him in a registry office, threw away the faith, one son soon after.

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