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An Experiment in Love Paperback – Jun 12 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Picador USA (June 12 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312426879
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312426873
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14.2 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #86,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David J. Gannon on June 30 1998
Format: Paperback
"An experiment in Love" is, ultimately, a novel about the various forms of imprisionment family, society and religion can place uopn the individual.
Carmel McBain is the daughter of a lower class English family. She is imprisioned at home by a domineering mother who makes a point of "doing everything" for her daughter while chiding her for being useless. She is constrained at school by her mother's high, harsh, expectations of academic excellence. She is engulfed in between by the inescapable "friendship" proximity and her mothers desires have forced her into with a neighbor and classmate whom she doesn't care for and with whom she has nothing in common.
Her academic success lands her in a highly regarded local Catholic girls prep school where she is again paired with her "friend" and further buffeted by the expectations, traditions and social constraints cointained within that environment.
Finally, at college in London, her "friend" still in tow, along with another classmate from the prep school, Carmel, though seemingly free of the constraints that dominated her childhood, cannot, in fact, sever those bonds. She is now sufficiently free, however, to analyze her situation, as well as those of her classmates, and can see, if not overcome, the various results that these limitations and expectations have had on her and her various classmates. The effects are often severe: Sexual abandon and the consequences those acts engender in a traditional, paternalistic society; Illness (particularly anorexia); and, in the end, a particular act of revenge/release with very grave effects and consequences.
Although not a book for the faint of heart, this nevertheless stands as a extraordinary piece of storytelling and social/psychological examination of the anomie often engendered within families in our modern society.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Aug. 22 1998
Format: Paperback
Everyone seems to have a different opinion as to what this book is "about." It is my opinion that "An Experiment in Love" is the story of faith destroyed by intellectualism. I think Carmel's spirituality, when it is given no outlet, literally consumes her. Anyway. I hesitate to say that this book should be required reading for everyone, but I think a particular kind of person would like it very much. I feel that Mantel has told my own story better than I ever could (not the anorexia; the loss of faith). Her voice is stark and bleak and poetic, and it disturbed me-- a seventeen year old girl who is religious by nature, but skeptical by conviction-- for reasons that I do not quite understand.
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Format: Paperback
I devoured this book in about a day. I found it literary, witty, and darkly fascinating. The people and places Mantel brings to life here evoked my own Catholic upbringing and school years. I bought the book because of the review Margaret Atwood gave it (printed on the cover), and it well deserved her lavish praise.
That said, I wanted there to be more. It felt like reading the beginning of a book, or like listening to someone tell me the first part of a history, and then suffering an interruption that leaves the story hanging. I felt it was unfinished, and I would gladly have read another 250 pages of this book, had they been there to read.
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Format: Paperback
With her consummate story-telling skills, Mantel never lets the reader down here. Superbly talented in creating relentless, razor sharp images of lower middleclass family life, of personally thwarted parents with bigger goals for their children, and of striving and desperately motivated young people, Mantel will, for many readers, succeed in conjuring up some of their own nightmares of youth and school life. Oft recognized by the British with innumerable prizes and awards, Mantel deserves to be considered to be "the novelist of her generation who will achieve lasting greatness" (Literary Review).
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