I thought of life's many bounties, to have known the extremities of joy and sorrow, love, crossed love and unrequited love, success and failure, fame and slaughter, to have read in the newspapers that as a writer I was past my sell-by date, yet regardless, to go on writing and reading, to be lucky enough to live in these two intensities that have buttressed my whole life. Born in Ireland in 1930 and driven into exile after publication of her controversial first novel, The Country Girls, O'Brien has created a body of work which bears comparison with the very best writers of the twentieth century. In Country Girl we come face to face with literary life of high drama and contemplation. And along the way there are encounters with Hollywood giants, pop stars and literary titans -- all of whom lend this life, so gorgeously, sometimes painfully remembered here, a terrible poignancy. In prose which sparkles with the effortless gifts of a master in her ninth decade, Edna O'Brien has recast her life with the imaginitive insight of a poet. It is a book of unfathomable depths and honesty.