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The novel was one of a number banned in Ireland at the time – indeed it was the subject, apparently, of a correspondence between a government minister (Charlie Haughey) and the Archibishop of Dublin and a number of the English Catholic hierarchy, all of whom concluded that it was a filthy book with no literary merit – and so a critical reception to the novel has been clouded by the issue of censorship. Obviously now, forty years on, the scandal seems misplaced, though the sexuality described in the book is still uncomfortable (largely being the predatory advances of much older men on the young women).

Edna O’Brien’s Country Girls reviewed over at TMO

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