In 1964, Nell Dunn spoke to nine of her friends over a bottle of wine about sex, work, money, babies, freedom and love. The novelist Ann Quin says she appears to be a ‘singular girl, singular and single’ but questions the use she makes of her freedom. The Pop artist Pauline Boty reveals she married ‘the first man I could talk very freely to’ ten days after meeting him. Kathy Collier, who worked with Dunn in a Battersea sweet factory, talks about what it takes to ‘get out’ of a life that isn’t fulfilling. Edna O’Brien tells us about the time she inadvertently stole a brown georgette scarf and the lesson she took from it: ‘Morality is not the same thing as abstinence.’ After more than fifty years out of print, Talking to Women is still as sparkling, honest, profound, funny and wise as when it was first published.
A debutante frees a hyena from the zoo so that it might take her place at her coming-out ball; an artist paints a portrait of a man s dead wife, but finds she has painted herself instead; a woman makes love to a boar underneath a mountain of cats; a chicken is roasted with the brains and livers of thrushes, truffles, crushed sweet almonds, rose conserve and drops of divine liqueur; two noble sisters wonder whether anybody can be a person of quality if they wash away their ghosts with common sense; a psychoanalyst must decide what to do with the gift of a team of Russian rats trained to operate on humans.
In this first complete edition of Leonora Carrington’s short stories, written throughout her life from her early years in Surrealist Paris to her late period in Dirty War-era Mexico City, the world is by turns subversive, funny, sly, wise and disarming.