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Comment: Underlining in a couple places, general wear typical to used paperback, crease in spine edge and corner wear, mark on side edge. Some wrinkles in covers. Still a usable, readable copy.
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The Company She Keeps Paperback – January 13, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (January 13, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156027860
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156027861
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #415,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

First novel by Mary Mccarthy. Originally published as six separate short stories, the novel appeared in 1942. Protagonist Margaret Sargent, a young student at a women's college, "a princess among the trolls," is based upon the author herself. The stories are barely disguised and acutely observed accounts of the author's own years as a young New Yorker and describe the failure of a marriage, random love affairs, and a passing flirtation with Trotskyism. Margaret's search for personal identity and her need for honesty and for distinguishing appearance from reality are the themes of the stories. (The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature)

About the Author

MARY MCCARTHY (1912-1989) was a short-story writer, bestselling novelist, essayist, and critic. She was the author of The Stones of Florence and Birds of America, among other books.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By frumiousb VINE VOICE on February 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
The Company She Keeps was Mary McCarthy's first novel (as noted above) and follows the life of Margaret Sargent from her first divorce through the life of a gay divorcee to a strained remarriage. Margaret tries to live the life of a twenties heroine (her ideas of the free life very reminiscent of Fitzgerald) but the context of this time had completely irrevocably changed.
The book covers the prewar period with the infighting on the left and the politics of Trotsky and Spain, the coming war and sexual freedom. McCarthy writes with incision and great wisdom, mocking, mourning, and loving her characters all at the same time.
The only problem with the book is that it was originally not a book at all, but several short stories on a theme. As such, it hangs together remarkably well, but before I knew that it had been short stories first I was already puzzled by some of the abrupt jumps and breaks.
This is the first Mary McCarthy I've read, but I will certainly be reading more. Highly recommended.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By William Tegner on December 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is Mary McCarthy's first book, and consists of six different exerts, some of which appear to have appeared previously in American magazines. The six parts all feature the same young woman, Margaret Sargent, and must be to some extent autobiographical. The book does not have the by now traditional disclaimer about the characters being imaginary, so I imagine that many of the males in it are based on true people as well.
The chapters and characters in the book (except for Miss Sargent) are all very different. They draw on the author's mixed Protestant, Catholic and Jewish descent. They are also a fascinating "period piece" about the USA just before the Second World War, and before another McCarthy jumped down on Marxists and Communists. The book is well written, if somewhat verbose by modern standards, and the characters well drawn. The final chapter, "Ghostly Father, I Confess" is a bit too self analytical and involved, perhaps, but interesting none the less.
In summary, the book is worth reading.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Bomojaz on July 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
The book consists of six somewhat lengthy "episodes" dealing with a young woman in the 1930s who runs with a very intellectual and bohemian crowd. All of the episodes are interesting and well told, but the best is "The Man in the Brooks Brothers Shirt." It is so good that it alone is worth the cost of the book. It describes an encounter between the young woman and a young man on a train, in which they end up spending the night together. The perspective is told from the woman's viewpoint and McCarthy's insights are incredibly honest, regardless the consequences. Her tone is assured and rock steady; it's a brilliant piece of modern realistic fiction. The whole book is fascinating and enlightening, one of McCarthy's best.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An unblinking gaze cast upon everyone, including herself. I swear I heard chords first struck by Evelyn Waugh in some of her passages, but McCarthy's project was different from his and very much her own. I especially value her willingness to acknowledge that many 1930's New York intellectuals were actually mincing -- effete? -- snobs.
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