We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9780349018058

Price: £16.99

Disclosure: If you buy products using the retailer buttons above, we may earn a commission from the retailers you visit.

‘Juicy, shocking, witty, and almost continually brilliant’ COSMOPOLITAN

‘A brilliant novel: honest, engaging and sharp as a tack’ SARAH WATERS


‘Lively, vivid and exceedingly entertaining’ SUNDAY TIMES


This groundbreaking novel celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2023. One of the first novels to frankly depict friendship, sex and women’s lives. It was a revelation and continues to inspire today.

WITH A NEW INTRODUCTION BY MONICA ALI

Mary McCarthy’s most celebrated novel portrays the lives and aspirations of eight Vassar graduates. ‘The group’ meet in New York following graduation to attend the wedding of one of their friends – and reconvene seven years later at her funeral. The women, fresh from college, vowed not to become stuffy and frightened like their parents, but to lead fulfilling, emancipated lives. Who really achieved this – and what sacrifices and compromises had to be made?

‘McCarthy’s characters confront many of the same issues as their modern counterparts: sex and contraception, career and marriage, love and lust, fidelity to one’s husband versus loyalty to one’s friends and the attempt to carve out a place for oneself unconstrained by the gender limitations of previous generations. Its continuing relevance is one of the book’s most extraordinary attributes’ ELIZABETH DAY, GUARDIAN

What's Inside

Read More Read Less

Reviews

Absorbing, funny, painful . . . I consider it a masterpiece
Hilary Mantel
Few works of literature can genuinely be termed "ahead of their time"
The Times
A brilliant novel: honest, engaging and sharp as a tack
Sarah Waters
Her greatest novel . . . marvellous . . . a prophetic book which set the scene . . . for the novels of protest and liberation in the next decade
Independent
Feels like discovering a thrilling secret. Its prose shows a master stylist at work, its aesthetics are striking - all ivory-tipped cigarettes, hand-pureed pâté, Vassar socialists in dungarees - and it has a surprise queer romance that twists the whole narrative into new shape. It's my new standard for a summer read: lavish, hilarious, smart and mean, like a glamorous friend you're torn between fearing and crushing on
Mikaella Clements
Scalpel-keen prose, honed on ruthless wit and insight
Observer
Shocking, titillating, and acid-laced . . . the book still dazzles as a generational portrait, falters as fiction, and blighted McCarthy's life
Laura Jacobs, Vanity Fair
One of my favourite books ever
India Knight
She is a sparkler, a very funny, very savage moralist, and a brilliant mimic
Spectator
McCarthy's dissection of this disparate group - highly educated but powerless in a world of men - is witty and merciless but tinged with sadness.
Daily Mail
McCarthy's characters confront many of the same issues as their modern counterparts: sex and contraception, career and marriage, love and lust, fidelity to one's husband versus loyalty to one's friends and the attempt to carve out a place for oneself unconstrained by the gender limitations of previous generations. Its continuing relevance is one of the book's most extraordinary attributes
Elizabeth Day, Guardian
This is the book which has aroused considerable advance speculation and well it might; it has a tremendous reader recognition . . . there cannot be much doubt that Mary McCarthy is an exceptional social satirist, with a jackdaw eye and an infallible ear
Kirkus Reviews
Juicy, shocking, witty, and almost continually brilliant
Cosmopolitan
A woman of intellect and style
Celia McGee, New York Times
Lively, vivid and exceedingly entertaining
Sunday Times