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Temples of delight
Barbara Trapido
Adult Fiction TRAPIDO

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From Publishers' Weekly:

While set in the present, Trapido's ( Brother of the More Famous Jack ) third novel seems somehow caught in a timeless past when girls went to finishing school to learn ``how to emerge gracefully from a Rolls-Royce in a hat.'' It thus conveys in many ways the unchanging rhythms of the British upper middle class with its rigid caste structures. Shy, naive and afflicted with a stammer, Alice Pilling, the novel's main character, is the daughter of a real estate developer. Her dreary, ordered world is enlivened with the arrival at her school of Jem McCrail, sophisticated, mendacious and given to delightful malapropisms. The plot revolves around the pair's relationship over the ensuing years--a relationship leavened with more than a little sexual ambiguity. Though witty, lyrical, at times rollicking, Alice and Jem's story is ultimately tragic; yet even in tragedy there is a note of triumph. These are two women who refuse to be done in by life--or death--and who see defeats as opportunities for growth and transformation. Well-crafted, richly textured and full of surprises, the book is reminiscent of Flann O'Brien's At Swim-Two-Birds , and the themes of its novel within-a-novel consciously evoke the work of Giuseppe di Lampedusa. In addition, Trapido has created, in Jem, a truly memorable character. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Trapido's third novel centers on two characters: Alice, an upper-middle-class only child of indulgent parents, and Jem, a poor, orphaned, worldly rebel with an imaginary family and a romantic outlook. The girls meet at school and become inseparable, literally and figuratively. Then Jem drops out of school and leaves Surrey, while Alice continues on to Oxford University. During her search for self, Alice also searches for Jem. Their eventual reunion is tragic but gives Alice's life new meaning. Discussing The Magic Flute , Jem explains, ``It makes sense in the way that a dream makes sense.'' The same is true of this novel. It has a surrealistic quality, and the flow of events and transitions in time and space are dreamlike. A delightful reading experience.-- Rita Ciresi, Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Alice Pillig
Age: Teenager
Shy; naive; only child.

Jem McCrail
Age: Teenager
Rebel; romantic.

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