Authors & Events
May 13, 2003
| ISBN 9780375714214
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May 13, 2003 | ISBN 9780375714214
Set in 1937, The Friendly Young Ladies is a romantic comedy of off-Bloomsbury bohemia. Sheltered, naïve, and just eighteen, Elsie leaves the stifling environment of her parents’ home in Cornwall to seek out her sister, Leo, who had run away nine years earlier. She finds Leo sharing a houseboat, and a bed, with the beautiful, fair-haired Helen. While Elsie’s arrival seems innocent enough, it is the first of a series of events that will turn Helen and Leo’s contented life inside out. Soon a randy young doctor is chasing after all three women at once, a neighborly friendship begins to show an erotic tinge, and long-quiet ghosts from Leo’s past begin to surface. Before long, no one is sure just who feels what for whom.Mary Renault wrote this delightfully provocative novel in the early 1940s, creating characters that are lighthearted, charming, and free-spirited partly in answer to the despair characteristic of Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness or Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour. The result is a witty and stylish story that offers exceptional insight into the world of upcoming writers and artists of in 1930s London, chronicling their rejection of society’s established sexual mores and their heroic pursuits of art and life.
MARY RENAULT (1905–1983) was the author of more than a dozen novels. She was born in London, educated at Oxford, and trained as a nurse. After World War II she and her life partner, Julie Mullard, settled in South Africa… More about Mary Renault
“Undeniably charming . . . has an enormous nostalgic attractiveness.” —New Yorker“Written with rare insight.” —Boston Globe“A very lively and human story.” —New York Times Book Review
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