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Beauty Story Paperback – Import, 1998

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Hutchinson; 1ST edition (1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091802334
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091802332
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,976,675 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Luke Jennings is an author and journalist who has written for Vanity Fair, the New Yorker and Time. He is the author of BLOOD KNOTS, short-listed for the Samuel Johnson and William Hill prizes, and the Booker Prize-nominated ATLANTIC. With his daughter Laura, he wrote the teenage stage-school novels STARS and STARS: STEALING THE SHOW. His latest publication is the Kindle Single CODENAME VILLANELLE, the first in a series of thrillers about a female assassin.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "littlenell8" on November 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
This an amazing book. I've read it twice already. Jennings creates such a truthful atmosphere for his narrative that the glimpses he gives into high powered journalism, the fashion industry and the ballet talk are totally believable.
Jennings also has the happy knack of creating some wonderful secondary characters, best of whom is Colin, who is gay, and whose longing to be an East End bovver boy is as hilarious as it is unachievable, the more he tries the more futile his efforts. There is also an strong undertow of menace in this book which even after two two readings I can't quite place. It's as if the Elizabethan theme in the narrative contains a sub-plot that is not at first apparent. Rather like one of those Elizabethan paintings, [there is a name for the genre, but it escapes me], where there is a puzzle within the picture, and another story there for those who know how to read it. If you follow the signs and the clues, you'll find it, but you have to know what you're looking for, and I don't - yet!
Therein lies the genius of this book - and genius is not too strong a word for it. One of the characters is betrayed by their hands, yet here is the paradox: Jennings' sleight of hand appears to have created a double mystery. I wonder what other readers think?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
I have just re-read this book and I agree with littlenell (see above) that there is a hidden level of meaning concealed within its pages. At one level it is the story of Alison and her journey through the glittering shallows of London's media world, and her curious fate when, after a life-threatening car-wreck, she is sent to Darne Castle, a 16th-century country domain, to cover the filming of a big-budget perfume campaign. But there is much more to the book than this. Much of it concerns the connection between Dale Cooney, a present-day American model, and Eleanor Duboys, a young British aristocrat who vanished in mysterious circumstances four centuries earlier. As the clues to their respective fates are laid out we realise that, in classic Elizabethan style, we are occupying an entirely symbolic landscape. Darne is Arden, the Shakespearean realm of magic and transformation, and Alison's journey (as certain unambiguous hermetic references make clear) is one of esoteric initiation and ascent. These are subtle games, and one of the book's great pleasures is the way that its 'deep' meaning is concealed behind a calculated and perfectly pitched shallowness. Perhaps the work to which Beauty Story owes its greatest debt is The Magus by John Fowles. The Magus is more overtly gnostic in content, and its inner workings are less encrypted, but the influence is undoubtedly there, and in calling his heroine Alison I suspect that Luke Jennings is acknowledging the debt. Read Beauty Story several times, as I have, and like Alison, the 'child of winter', muse upon the night sky and the true north. To say more would be to spoil the discovery in store. Et in Arcadia Ego!
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