The Seven Sistersby Margaret Drabble
Candida Wiltona woman recently betrayed, rejected, divorced, and alienated from her three grown daughtersmoves 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… See more details below
- LendMe LendMe™ Learn More
Candida Wiltona woman recently betrayed, rejected, divorced, and alienated from her three grown daughtersmoves 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 womenwidows, 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.
Recently dumped for a younger woman by husband Andrew, Candida Wilton is angry, estranged from her three daughters, and, as an abandoned housewife with no skills or prospects, disinclined to be patronized by overbearing Suffolk neighbors like Sally. She moves to a shabby section of London and begins studying The Aeneid at an adult education center; when it’s shut down, she warily joins the trendy health club that replaces it. The first half, "Her Diary," offers Candida’s bitter but often sharply funny observations of her smug ex, her status-seeking offspring, health-club members, and other residents of the new, multicultural London. Readers may agree when she writes, "What a mean, self-righteous, self-pitying voice is mine," but this long, grim opening section skillfully sets up "Italian Journey," the hesitantly happy description of a trip taken by newly affluent Candida (an unexpected pension windfall) to Tunis and Naples. She’s following in Aeneas’s footsteps under the guidance of the elderly Mrs. Jerrold, who taught the defunct Aeneid class. Other companions include childhood chum Julia, a bestselling novelist past her commercial prime; cheerfully hedonistic Cynthia, married to a wealthy gay art-dealer; and the loathsome Sally. All seven are no longer young, each wondering what Julia bluntly asks: "So what is the point of us?" Candida: "The solution to the problem is death." Part Three suggests that this may be the author’s final answer, though her middle daughter angrily refutes many of Candida’s previous assertions. Almosteverything we thought we knew gets upended in Part Four, where Candida has built a new life and offers cautious hope for her future.
Tough-minded, uncompromising, and not always a lot of fun. But Drabble’s longtime admirers will cheer to see the author of The Needle’s Eye and The Ice Age once again following her muse into uncomfortable places.
“A provocative and hugely entertaining novel.”
–Globe and Mail
“A demanding, risk-taking and rewarding masterpiece.”
“Margaret Drabble is a writer of shining wit and splendid seriousness.”
“Drabble combines the humanity of Alice Munro and the intelligence of Margaret Atwood with her own crystalline wit.”
“The Radiant Way, with its brave perceptivity and bite, stands as a modern Middlemarch, an ultimately inspiring achievement.”
“A perceptive, contemporary novel.…Drabble has a dry wit and unflinching eye for the ridiculous.…”
“Splendid.…The Radiant Way leaves us profoundly depressed by the ailing condition of England and yet exhilarated by Drabble’s considerable accomplishment in this richly conceived novel.”
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- Barnes & Noble
- NOOK Book
- Sales rank:
- File size:
- 1 MB
Meet the Author
MARGARET DRABBLE is the author of The Sea Lady, The Seven Sisters, The Peppered Moth, and The Needle's Eye, among other novels. For her contributions to contemporary English literature, she was made a Dame of the British Empire in 2008.
- London, England
- Date of Birth:
- June 5, 1939
- Place of Birth:
- Sheffield, England
- Cambridge University
More from this Author
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >