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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Library Thing Early Review

The Rehearsal
by Eleanor Catton

I saved this for summer beach reading. I heard it was really fun. A reading buddy of mine offered to share her (signed) copy, but I already had this one to take away. It almost seemed a shame to wait, but it turned out to be perfect for summer.

It is engaging and eyebrow-raising, without being challenging. The narrative is original, with a number of convincing voices. It's quite interesting to see the taboo treated as something ordinary that just happens, that it changes everything but not the essential character of life.

The story concerns the aftermath of an affair revealed between a senior student and a male teacher in a private girls' school. I have an unusually good view into life in girls' schools, and I just loved the not-politically-correct tone of the book. It struck me as nuanced and accurate rather than stereotypical and formulized for instruction (which feels rare, especially for this kind of loaded topic, set in a girls' school environment, let me tell you).

Catton also managed to write in a post-modern, that is to say non-linear, fashion that felt fresh. It did add a level of challenge to the book that I also found extremely compelling. It's just not that often that you need to scroll around in a book to re-orient yourself because the points of view are dizzying.

In a world where there are a lot a lot a lot of fabulous first books (not to mention first singles, first films etc), you have to wonder if the writer will be able to stay interesting. Here's hoping.

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