The Rehearsal (Paperback)
All the world's a stage--and nowhere is that more true than at an all-girls high school, particularly one where a scandal has just erupted. A teacher has had an affair with his underage student, and though her friends pretend to be dismayed, they are secretly curious and jealous. They obsessively examine the details of the affair under the watchful eye of their stern and enigmatic saxophone teacher, whose focus may not be as strictly on their upcoming recital as she implies.
When the local drama school turns the story of the scandal into their year-end show, the real world and the world of the theater are forced to meet. With both performances--the musicians' and the acting students'--approaching, the boundaries between dramas real and staged, private and public, begin to dissolve. THE REHEARSAL is a tender portrait of teenage yearning and adult regret, an exhilarating, darkly funny, provocative novel about the complications of human desire.
About the Author
Eleanor Catton, winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize for her most recent novel, "The Luminaries," was born in Canada and raised in New Zealand. She won the 2009 Betty Trask Award and the Adam Prize in Creative Writing for "The Rehearsal," which was also long-listed for the Orange Prize and short-listed for the Dylan Thomas Prize. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and an MA in fiction writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters. She lives in New Zealand.
"A wildly brilliant and precocious first novel . . . this young writer is astonishingly talented, and her writing can steal any scene."
-New York Times Book Review
"Imagine Sue Sylvester's lines from 'Glee' delivered by Judi Dench and you'll begin to capture the tone taken by the teachers in this mordant debut novel."
-New York Times
"Eleanor Catton's seductive debut is a vibrant novel that tests its readers, both in terms of context and form. . . . Daring and lush. . . a most beguiling read."
"The Rehearsal is a tour de force that tells two stories simultaneously while delighting in doubles, parallels, and couples . . . the combination of beautiful writing and inventive, nontraditional structure still make it a dazzling debut."
"This is a mesmerizing, labyrinthine, intricately patterned and astonishingly original novel. It's really something else entirely. I suppose if you need a point of reference, you might say it's as if Miss Jean Brodie got lost in Barth's funhouse. But really it has no comparison. With The Rehearsal you get the style, the sophistication, the boundless possibility and the narrative pleasures that make up any good novel, but you get a bonus, too: a glimpse into the future of the novel itself."
"A wonderful debut by a truly exciting new writer--The Rehearsal is compulsively good and while at the same time being immensely readable it also continually calls into question the relationship between so-called 'reality' and fiction, and the very nature of truth itself."
"Dazzling....This astonishing debut novel is a cause for surprise and celebration: smart, playful and self-possessed, it has the glitter and mystery of the true literary original....wherever the book falls open it's near-impossible to put down."
"Uncommonly witty and bold....[The Rehearsal has] a real knack for narrative and a cast of painfully familiar teenage characters who are all desperate to be as confident, cool, charismatic and funny as possible. These are qualities that the extraordinary Eleanor Catton has in spades."
-The Times of London
-Time Out of London
"The Rehearsal is a significant debut novel from an exciting young writer. Eleanor Catton is a new talent who has arrived fully formed, with an accomplished, confident and mature voice. This is a startling novel, striking and strange and brave."
-New Zealand Listener
"This is a daring book, full of velvety pleasures but never afraid to show its claws. Eleanor Catton is crazily talented and insightful--and best of all, she makes language seem new."
-author of Not Her Real Name and Other Stories