The Country Girls

Narrated by: Edna O'Brien
Series: Country Girls Trilogy, Book 1
Length: 7 hrs and 18 mins
Categories: Romance
3.8 out of 5 stars (120 ratings)

Audible Premium Plus

$14.95 a month

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $15.66

Buy for $15.66

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

It is the early 1960s in a country village in Ireland. Caithleen Brady and her attractive friend, Baba, are on the verge of womanhood and dreaming of spreading their wings in a wider world - of discovering love and luxury and liquor and above all, fun. With bawdy innocence, shrewd for all their inexperience, the girls romp their way through convent school to the bright lights of Dublin – where Caithleen finds that suave, idealised lovers rarely survive the real world.

©2010 AudioGO Ltd (P)1960 Edna Gebler

What listeners say about The Country Girls

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    49
  • 4 Stars
    27
  • 3 Stars
    28
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    8
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    46
  • 4 Stars
    32
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    11
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    47
  • 4 Stars
    28
  • 3 Stars
    24
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    4

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Spectacular Writing and Narrating

I was almost swayed by negative reviews of Edna O'Brien's narration. Wow, am I glad I downloaded it anyway. O'Brien is a spectacular writer whose sensitivity to small details and physical gestures rivals that of Proust. She brings the world of her youth to life in such vivid complexity and psychological honesty, I was completely transported.

As for the reading, it's true she is not a professional narrator and you can hear her taking breaths and pausing at odd moments. HOWEVER, she has a gorgeous voice that is so full of feeling--plus the lovely accent, and a hushed, expectant tone--that I was captivated and hanging on every sentence.

One of the best listens of the year for me. I was driving for much of this and at one point was so moved I had to pull over!

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Where have all the romantics gone?

Where does The Country Girls rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Right at the top.

What other book might you compare The Country Girls to and why?

Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate. Terribly Mitford-esque..

What about Edna O'Brien’s performance did you like?

Sound of her voice, incredible diction. marvelous irony.

If you could take any character from The Country Girls out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Mr. Gentleman. You have to ask why?

Any additional comments?

Where are the negative reviews coming from? Really ladies and gentlemen, have we forgotten the romance of courtship and are we too old to remember how hard our hearts ached when we first fell in love? Edna O'Brien has not forgotten, I am hard pressed to find more than a handful of writers who could write about this experience with as much beauty and haunting charm as she evokes This is the first audiobook that has pressed a review from me. Well, I'd put Jeremy Irons reading of Lolita as my all time no. 1, but it's pretty damn hard to knock Nabokov off the top..

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Hard to listen to

This is an excellent story, and quite an interesting view into life in an earlier time in Ireland. Unfortunately, the author's narration makes the experience almost unbearable, with her long pauses and constant gulping breaths. It is really a shame. I really wished she had let someone else do the reading as I am having a hard time enjoying her wonderful writing and find myself only able to listen to a little at a time, before I can't stand it anymore. Do yourself a favor and get a hard copy of this fascinating glimpse into a different time and place.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Author should not read her book

This book was part of a book club list, therefore I did not choose to read it. That said, I started off with the written version and decided that maybe I would progress faster with the recording. I was very excited to see that the author was reading her book, but, in this case I think that maybe she made a mistake. I did not enjoy her reading, there was no characterization: usually a reader gives each character a different rhythm of speech or tone of voice... in this case it was monotonous, the story being a bit monotonous to start with. And then there was the BREATHING, this was the most difficult part to handle as I really had to make an effort not to concentrate on the intake of air through the nostrils and listen to the words. Personally I did not enjoy this book, there were too many unnecessary descriptions of nature, which I found had no positive use to the story, they just made it long drawn out. I think there are sufficient descriptions of the story and the characters, so I will not go into them in this review, except to say that the outcome was very abrupt.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Authors are not always the best readers

I can see why this book in its time and place made a splash, but from the present perspective I can't agree that Edna O'Brien is/was the "Faulkner" of female Irish writers. Still, it is an interesting slice of life in a small Irish village in the fifties from the viewpoint of a naive young girl. I would have enjoyed it more had it been read by a good voice actor. Authors are not always the best readers of their work (in fact, rarely), and Ms. O'Brien lacks the training that would have made this more enjoyable. She has a pleasant voice, but she doesn't have her breathing under control, and her constant wheezing/gulping for air is more than a little distracting.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Is an author always the best reader?

I plan to read the whole trilogy and part of me thinks I should wait until I've finished to pass judgement on part one but let's go with first impressions anyway. While I do plan to read the entire series, that has more to do with my own interest in the author's work, the time and place she's writing about, and a weird compulsion to complete things. Would this book, on its own, compel me to finish reading about frenemies Caithleen and Baba? Maybe, maybe not. Although the cast of characters from the home village is actually very richly drawn. More to the point, I am not certain I want to continue listening to the book as read by the author. There's an odd sniffling quality to the reading that doesn't match up with the voice I'd associate with a young girl and I wonder if I'd have liked the story better if there had been a different reader.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not a pleasant book to listen to.

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I started listening to the book but I just couldn't continue with Edna O'Brien as the narrator. I found her speech just too slow and garbled. But since the book did get such great review about the storyline, I will read it.

Would you be willing to try another one of Edna O'Brien’s performances?

No.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

delightful and compelling

A humorous, mesmerizing and well-observed story of the difficulties and excitements of a young girl growing up poor in Ireland. Charmingly and movingly read by the author. I was hooked from the beginning and listened to many passages twice to enjoy them again.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Friendship of circumstance

Newly exploring Edna O'Brien as a wise woman writer. Her description of Ireland sets the stage, viscerally visual, against which the dialects of the main characters in conversation pulled me even further into the world a country girl in Ireland existed in.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Marvelous.

Marvelous reading, old world tone, and sultry, captivating description. I'd listen to this again and again

1 person found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 06-07-20

Delightful

I wanted to read this book as I heard Edna on Desert Island Discs, I was taken by how 50 plus years after release she still had a bitter sweet feeling for her successful trilogy, as it caused upset in Ireland. I like the matter of fact descriptive writing. I'm cutting this review short as I must read the next one!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jules
  • Jules
  • 04-19-20

Authors should not read there own books

Fabulous story, but Edna O’Brien’s voice is so wrong for it. A real shame as it puts me off listening to the rest of the trilogy.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jane Burns
  • Jane Burns
  • 10-02-19

Drawn in to Kathleen's life...

Was hooked from the start, great story, brilliantly read, started Edna O'Briens next book already!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-11-19

book should have been narrated by a young woman

the book should have been narrated by a young woman, but a good authentic story

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for TAG
  • TAG
  • 12-05-18

Disappointing

I’m afraid this is a prime example of why an author narrating their own work is not a good idea. O’Brien talks at an irregular speed in different chapters, sometimes intolerably slowly. She also talks in a whisper which makes it difficult to discern different characters. I had to listen to this for work but otherwise I would have given up with it.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Suzi
  • Suzi
  • 03-05-15

A very impressive book but ends too quickly.

I enjoyed the listeming but still I think one more chapter would have made a big difference. I felt frustrated by the lack of appropriate ending.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jon
  • Jon
  • 07-07-13

Beautiful, evocative voice of Ms O'Brian

Where does The Country Girls rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

My first audiobook, so nothing to compare but i loved it. Got it for long car journey in India, quite surreal listening and being enveloped in Ms O'Brians Irish lilt and soft atmosphere while seeing the colourful expanse of Indian life, especially in Delhi stuck in a traffic jam.

What did you like best about this story?

Her voice, the characters were very real to me

Which character – as performed by Edna O'Brien – was your favourite?

I loved both the girls

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

?