THE REHEARSAL by Eleanor Catton

THE REHEARSAL by Eleanor Catton

Before The Luminaries, there was this novel. A fraction of the size thank goodness, as I actually found it considerably more difficult to read than The Luminaries. Ms Catton was only 23 when this was published, and it is extraordinary writing for one so young. Not only in her plot and its development but in the depth and complexity of her characters. I can't say I enjoyed reading this, there is so much going on, her characters are more complex than most people I know, I am not even really entirely sure what it is all about! But being  Eleanor Catton writing, out of sheer respect for her I did read it to the end. None the wiser really I am afraid. However I can very clearly see where the magic that is The Luminaries has come from. There are plenty of sections of writing in the book that are stunning and beautiful, the joy of writing and the joy of words are everywhere. From reading on-line reviews there are plenty of people out there who really like this earlier novel of hers.

The story centres on two groups of young people - girls at a girls' school, where an older teacher and a 17 year old student have been found out. There is plenty of angst, hand wringing and teenage girls trying to find their own sexual selves in the emotionally ridden atmosphere that results. And a second group of older teenagers - 1st year drama students who are competing with each other for attention from the instructors in voice, movement, mime. The two groups do come together, but it is all really quite strange. I venture to suggest that perhaps this book is about teenagers finding themselves, the search for identity, what fitting in really means, first love, first sexual experience. 

But really to be truly honest, I don't think I got it! It is confusing, I am not sure where it was supposed to be going to, and despite my perserverance it just did not come together for me.  Glad I read The Luminaries before this.

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