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City of Girls

By: Elizabeth Gilbert
Narrated by: Blair Brown
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Publisher's Summary

The blazingly brilliant new novel from Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the international best seller Eat Pray Love: a glittering coming-of-age epic stitched across the fabric of a lost New York. 

It is the summer of 1940. Nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris arrives in New York with her suitcase and sewing machine, exiled by her despairing parents. Although her quicksilver talents with a needle and commitment to mastering the perfect hair roll have been deemed insufficient for her to pass into her sophomore year of Vassar, she soon finds gainful employment as the self-appointed seamstress at the Lily Playhouse, her unconventional Aunt Peg's charmingly disreputable Manhattan revue theatre. There, Vivian quickly becomes the toast of the showgirls, transforming the trash and tinsel only fit for the cheap seats into creations for goddesses. 

Exile in New York is no exile at all: here in this strange wartime city of girls, Vivian and her girlfriends mean to be free, to get up to no good, to drink the heady highball of life itself to the last drop. And when the legendary English actress Edna Watson comes to the Lily to star in the company's most ambitious show ever, Vivian is entranced by the magic that follows in the wake of this true, true star. 

But there are hard lessons to be learned and bitterly regrettable mistakes to be made. Vivian learns that to live the life she wants, she must live many lives, ceaselessly and ingeniously making them new. 

'At some point in a woman's life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time. After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is,' she confides. And so Vivian sets forth her story, and that of the women around her - women who have lived as they truly are, out of step with a century that could never quite keep up with them.

©2019 Elizabeth Gilbert (P)2019 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about City of Girls

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Really? This got rave reviews?

I liked Gilbert's novel: The Signature of All Things, very much. Was excited to listen to this. Drawn in in the beginning; getting annoyed at bad writing a little past the beginning; irritated by the lack of editing and predictability — same use of sentence construction; loads of 'telling' and explaining and clichéd characterisations... and gave up. Not recommended.

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9 people found this helpful

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Keep your expectations low

The Signature of All Things is one of my favourites so I had great hope for City of Girls. I could not get into this story, I kept hoping it would get better so persevered until the end. I wouldn’t recommend this one to a friend so I’m not recommending it to you.

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7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Amazing read

This is the best book I have ever listened to.
Everything about it has captured me.
The characters are not predictable, the story line is captivating and I will be sad when I am finished.
I actually felt like I was living in the story.

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6 people found this helpful

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Wonderful

What a joy and pleasure to indulge in such a beautifully told, wise and heartfelt, fun and insightful story and wondrous performance.
Just loved it. Thank you Elizabeth Gilbert for such a gorgeous gift and Blair Brown for such a telling.

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Was hooked within the first chapter

I was worried I wouldn't love this as much as eat love pray, but Elizabeth didn't disappoint.

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dissapointing

struggled to stay with story....very bland storyline . I tried throughout to understand the point, it never arrived.

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Great narration

I only enjoyed this story when listening on audible - when reading it was tedious, annoying and felt that the author had missed many important women’s issues that could have been made in reflections on wartime women experiences.

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I LOVED THIS!

Elizabeth Gilbert you have done it again. I could just imagine myself back in NY in the 30’s the story was like a roller coaster I did not expect it to end the way it did. Heart break, humour, pain, and transformation as I listened to the book, I could feel the characters and experiences with in myself. You are a brilliant writer, I applaud you and WHEN IS THE MOVIE COMING OUT?

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New York a stunning backdrop

Initially the New York accent grated on my ears, but the story soon won me over, at which time the accent became essential, even enjoyable.
City of Girls is a wonderfully insightful feminist view of (among other things) theatrical life from the late 1930’s through the war years, following the life of one woman and finishing when she is in her nineties.
Full of interesting characters and descriptions of the changes through the decades of New York City and some of its inhabitants as the main character comes to terms with her own values and lifestyle.
I was constantly fascinated with this story, so far removed from my own life, extending to me a glimpse of times and places I had never known.
As a woman I was particularly interested in the main character’s struggle as a woman living an unconventional life. This is also essential reading for the intelligent male interested in this alternative viewpoint.
Absolutely highly recommended.

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City of Girls.

Worst book ever. Whilst parts were interesting from the era, the whole story seemed misdirected and disconnected from the beginning to the end in discovering the conclusion of who Angela was in relation to the life of the heroine. I struggled to finish it. I might not have but for spending several hours a day driving and captive.

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