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City of Girls cover art

City of Girls

By: Elizabeth Gilbert
Narrated by: Blair Brown
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Summary

The blazingly brilliant new novel from Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the international best seller Eat Pray Love: a glittering coming-of-age epic stitched across the fabric of a lost New York.

It is the summer of 1940. Nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris arrives in New York with her suitcase and sewing machine, exiled by her despairing parents. Although her quicksilver talents with a needle and commitment to mastering the perfect hair roll have been deemed insufficient for her to pass into her sophomore year of Vassar, she soon finds gainful employment as the self-appointed seamstress at the Lily Playhouse, her unconventional Aunt Peg's charmingly disreputable Manhattan revue theatre. There, Vivian quickly becomes the toast of the showgirls, transforming the trash and tinsel only fit for the cheap seats into creations for goddesses.

Exile in New York is no exile at all: here in this strange wartime city of girls, Vivian and her girlfriends mean to be free, to get up to no good, to drink the heady highball of life itself to the last drop. And when the legendary English actress Edna Watson comes to the Lily to star in the company's most ambitious show ever, Vivian is entranced by the magic that follows in the wake of this true, true star.

But there are hard lessons to be learned and bitterly regrettable mistakes to be made. Vivian learns that to live the life she wants, she must live many lives, ceaselessly and ingeniously making them new.

'At some point in a woman's life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time. After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is,' she confides. And so Vivian sets forth her story, and that of the women around her - women who have lived as they truly are, out of step with a century that could never quite keep up with them.

©2019 Elizabeth Gilbert (P)2019 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about City of Girls

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Loved it!

Beautifully written tale and excellent narration. I will likely also purchase the physical book. The choice of narrator was spot on. She brought an additional depth to the tale.

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    3 out of 5 stars

A well written story by a clever author

A high quality novel with good character development and depth. It's a story of two halves, except the first half is too long and dragged out, I nearly gave up. I am glad that I finished, though I probably won't read another of Gilbert's books.

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  • DC
  • 23-08-19

Worth it for the ending

There's a bit at the beginning, and a few in the middle where I did wonder where she was going with this story, it felt drawn out and long winded, and I was not siding with the main character Vivian Morris, but then, it takes a turn and I was hooked, the last few chapters put meat on the bones of this story, and pulled at my heart strings, in it's upfront story telling that I had resented in earlier parts. Read/listen till the end, or risk disappointment and missing the heat of the story.

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wonderful, honest story, beautifully read

a winding story about a very real woman. there's a lot of wit ably brought out by the terrific narration. I loved it.

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  • Ju
  • 28-08-20

easy and beautiful listen

I loved it from start to finish, easy but full of sentiment, I highly recommend it

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A fun read

I really loved this book! It was not only well written but performed excellently. I became invested in each character and truly felt some of their emotions as they went through their life events. It has a real theme of creativity running throughout the book and that's kick started me to do something different in my own life - didn't expect that from a novel!

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Very well written

I loved this book, it gave me a real insight into women growing up in the war in New York City from a whole different perspective. If you loved Gilbert’s other works this does not disappoint, the narration is gripping and the story means that you don’t want to stop listening.

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I was completely immersed....

I had this in my calendar and had been waiting for the release of this book and Elizabeth Gilbert did not disappoint! I felt completely drawn in and transported to that very era in history in New York. I can actually almost visualise this as a movie... it was brilliant! I literally did not want to miss a thing, nor did I want it to end. Blair Brown narratted this book perfectly. Love love loved it!!

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Magnificent

Fantastic reading and beautiful, heart achingly beautiful, story. The book was sat on my shelf as a hardcover for far too long. I wish I hadn’t waited so long to read it/have it read to me.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

worth sticking till the end

I wasn't sure what to make of this initially but then I got into it more and loved the ending. its a long letter from an old lady to the daughter of her friend. basically her life story from 19 to 90 during the 2nd World War. quite a bit of sex interspersed as well. would recommend for an easy read although it is quite long.

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