Edna O'Brien (1930, born County Clare, Ireland) is one of Ireland's leading writers. Her work was considered daring for its treatment of the lives and sexuality of women as she was a ground breaker for women writers. She was way ahead of the pack in letting us explore the inner lives of women. August is a Wicked Month has just been reissued by Open Media Media publishing in a beautiful new edition.
The woman has several sexual encounters, they range from completely joyless to OK experiences. The book is surprising it the frankness of its sexual scenes, and was even more so in Ireland in 1965. The lead character Ellen is being ironic when she says "August is a Wicked Month" as this is at best tepid evil.
O'Brien does a great job of showing us how trapped Ellen is by her culture and the morals drilled into her being by her upbringing. She cannot, it seems, just let go in a sexual encounter but must create a sense that she has a relationship with the man involved. It is like she wants to have a series of short marriages rather than a robust debauch. The prose is a joy to read and we really do get to know Ellen.
This is a very good novel and I hope to expand my reading of her work soon.
This book is published by Open Road Integrated Media. They have a very interesting, diversified and rapidly expanding selection of works on their very well done web site.