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Summary

The Group follows eight graduates from exclusive Vassar College as they find love and heartbreak, and choose careers and husbands against the backdrop of 1930s New York.

Mary McCarthy (1912-1989) was born in Seattle, Washington. She was a short-story writer, bestselling novelist, essayist and a social and art critic. She was a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters and won the National Medal for Literature and the Edward MacDowell Medal in 1984.

©1963 Mary McCarthy (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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

Long, laboured but enjoyable

Would you try another book written by Mary McCarthy or narrated by Lorelei King?

Lorelei King is very good and Mary McCarthy I would try again, but may be as a book rather than an audiobook

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

In the asylum

Which character – as performed by Lorelei King – was your favourite?

Probably Kay with Polly running as a close second with Nadene coming a very close third. Although they were quite distinct through her characterisation.

Was The Group worth the listening time?

Yes but you have to stick with it,

Any additional comments?

This is a complicated story that intertwines the life of a group of girls and how their lives unfold. I am sure that as a physical book it would be easier to follow, especially for those who tend to listen in the car. Frequent breaks make harder to maintain flow and its not that easy to flick back and recap.Historically interesting reinforcing how far we have come over a short period of time. Each character is different with their own story told over a short but interesting period, The only downside with so many characters is that you have to remember who is who and their life and relationship with the next character. This is not a listen for the feint hearted, stick with it and try to listen consistently so that you maintain flow - it is a long book. There are some scenes which will stick with me for a long time so it obviously has some powerful elements and I did enjoy it and will be able to listen again as I am sure there are some bits that passed me by.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

A long lost era - fascinating to read

I really enjoyed this quite long story - I felt connected to all the women but I did have to keep reviewing the info as there was a lot to take in.
Worth a listen - we may advance in technology but people remain the same in principle!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Once a trail-blazer, but now seems less so

Though the stories are about a group of women graduates from Vasser College in the 1930s the influence of the1960s, when the book was written, shine through. Some of the frankness, particularly over women’s sexual feelings and experiences, were regarded as risqué when the book came out in the 60s but it now seems matter-of-fact. I think it would have had more of an impression on me when I was young. There’s quite a bit about what women expected of life; and the social conventions and child-rearing fashions of the era. The predominance, until relatively recently, of psychoanalysis in American psychiatry is strongly evident and the parts about characters undergoing this treatment were the only boring parts of the book for me.

As other reviewers have mentioned one has to concentrate, particularly in the earlier part of the book, as so many characters are introduced by name and nickname. But once the book got into its stride I became engrossed in the women’s lives. Some have called it a feminist book and I can see that in describing women’s discontent over the imbalances of ‘power’ in marriage, their disappointments over what life had to offer and the attitudes of some of the male characters could be seen as a polemical, but mostly I think it’s just a book that would appeal more to women than men.

I was interested to learn elsewhere that Mary McCarthy was a short-story writer as the book is like a series of intersecting short-stories as each woman’s life is described. Some of the lives make more of an impression, particularly Kay and her husband Harald.

Lorelei King is one of my favourite narrators and she does a grand job helping the listener differentiate among the many characters.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful