“People ask me who was Baba, and I answer – Baba is who I’d like to be”

Me too. Wonderful interview with Edna O’Brien.

Excerpt from interview:

“I wrote The Country Girls in three weeks having blown the 50 quid advance. I was young, married with two small children, and whenever I met people, I was spouting poetry. I had this thing that writing was real -€“ I mean other people’s writing – literature, great literature, not rubbish. There’s so much rubbish written now, so much garbage, and it’s extolled. But writing was to me animate; it was real; it was as real as the people I knew.

“I only thought of one thing -€“ the country, the landscape, my mother, the people I had left. Now I was dying to leave, this is not nostalgia, and I feel permanently, in life, quite isolated. I both belong very intensely to that place where I come from and I’m running from it still. So when I sat down to write, I was extremely emotional and yet the language is not emotional; it just came out. I didn’t have to call on memory. To use the cliche it wrote itself. And that is sometimes true for a first book.

“I knew there’d be a storm. I was accused of betraying my country, my locality, my sex. The nuns in my convent went bonkers with rage. But the books survived. I suppose that’s what counts.”

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2 Responses to “People ask me who was Baba, and I answer – Baba is who I’d like to be”

  1. dad says:

    Dearest: I don’t find O’Brien all that interesting as a writer, but I love her biography–she married a somewhat successful novelist , Ernest Gebler who wrote a best seller, The Mayflower Adventure. He was already established when he married this beautiful young woman, but had trouble after the first few novels to get anything published. A novelist friend had a contract to publish a novel, but couldn’t overcome writer’s block, so gebler gave him a ms. of his that had been rejected by all the publishers. Friend submits it as his own, and it gets published to rave reviews. Gebler was an idiot, who claimed that he actually wrote all of the early O’Brien novels. Edna took her beautiful self off to London, and was well rid of him. love, dad

  2. red says:

    Dad – sounds like quite a bit of drama there with that husband!! I’ve only read The Country Girls trilogy – and of those three, it’s the FIRST one that really touches me. When they go off and get married or start living the single life – it lost some of its oomph – but that first part is so well-written. I find it so heartening to know she wrote the whole damn thing in 3 weeks.

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