The Seven Sisters

The Seven Sisters

3.34 (1,082 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

When Candida Wilton arrives alone in London, divorced and rejected and without much money, she is filled with a strange sense of excitement. What can happen, at her age, to change her fortunes? How will she adjust to this shabby, violent, yet curiously attractive city? When Candida starts writing her diary, she expects that she will fill it with the small events with which she pads out her empty life, but she has always had a secret belief that despite all she is a lucky person. And she is, in a sense, right, for when an unexpected windfall brings her sudden riches, her horizons broaden: she will start, she thinks, with a trip abroad...show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 130 x 186 x 24mm | 240.41g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • 0141010193
  • 9780141010199

Author information

Margaret Drabble was born in Sheffield in 1939 and educated at Cambridge. She was awarded a CBE in 1980. Her many novels include The Radiant Way (1987), A Natural Curiosity (1989) and The Gates Of Ivory (1991), and The Peppered Moth (2000) all of which are published by Penguin. Among her non-fiction works are The Oxford Companion To English Literature (1985, 2000, edited). Margaret Drabble is married to the biographer Michael Holroyd and lives in London W10.show more

Review Text

Margaret Drabble is bang up to date with her latest novel, focusing on the subtle discomforts of the stranded middle classes and the fears and anxieties of ageing. In her late 50s, recently divorced and entirely alone in London, Candida Wilton records on her laptop diary that she has deliberately chosen to live in a 'dark, dirty, menacing area'. Her third floor flat has two rooms, a damp bathroom, smelly corridors and thumping reggae noise from above. Cut off from her Suffolk surroundings as the wife of a private school headmaster, she struggles to make sense of her new daily life. Candida has never worked and continues to operate with a 1950s mindset. She isn't quite sure what a Sony Walkman is or where to buy one, considers eating in the street a sin and hates coarse expressions. She frequently reminisces about her own boarding school days and fills her time with free lectures at the Tate and the National Gallery. She attends a Latin class on Virgil's Aeneid until it disbands and she is forced to transfer her allegiance to a gymnasium. Her only means of escape is the secret hope that she will win the lottery. The Latin class has captured her imagination. She wants to travel in the footsteps of Aeneas, go to Naples, to the ruins of Carthage and the caves of the Sibyl at Cumae. Candida doesn't win the lottery but she does come into money in a totally unexpected way. Suddenly she can embark on her epic journey and take some of her Virgilian friends from the evening class with her. Together with the tour bus driver, an exotic creature called Valeria, the travellers number seven - the Seven Sisters of the title. Various crises develop and Drabble plays with literary conventions to bring about a satisfying conclusion. This is a moving and ultimately wistful novel about women teetering on the brink of old age and seeking new paths where none previously existed. London and Italy are both brought sharply to life, but the central theme is that of transformation and reinvention. (Kirkus UK)show more

Rating details

1,082 ratings
3.34 out of 5 stars
5 12% (130)
4 32% (349)
3 38% (414)
2 13% (138)
1 5% (51)
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