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Schooling Paperback – June 25, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Library Journal
- Rebecca Stuhr, Grinnell Coll. Libs., IA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Okay. Enough about the style of the writing (experimental, I think, describes it well). The story is great. Catrine, a 13yo from Maine whose mother has recently died, is sent to a boarding school north of London that her father went to during WWII. He reminisces with her about the wonderful experiences he had there and about the excellent education she can expect to receive.
Catrine, however, has a different experience, exposed to hazing, cruelty, cynicism, and the difficulty of always living as an outsider. She is troubled by the realization that she and a friend from her childhood may have caused a death, and she is confused by her the attentions shown to her by Mr. Gilbert, her chemistry teacher and the one person who seems to consider her special. Good stuff.
I'll be curious to see in what style McGowan writes her next book.
The complaint that's always made about literary fiction, and that has been leveled at everyone since James Joyce, is that it's just pure ostentation, a sort of "look ma no hands" linguistic showmanship. That's not, however, why McGowan's book is difficult. The book is difficult to read -- at least at first -- because it is an entirely refreshing reading experience. Because the novel's central character Catrine, is young, and because she is scared and small and growing into an understanding of herself, she is inarticulate.
But despite her inability to articulate words or thoughts, we come to know Catrine very intimately, and MacGowan manages to make her inarticulate thoughts and words the stuff of great literary fiction.
The book can be difficult to read, because it is unlike most books (more challenging in structure than even, say, DFW's Infinite Jest). But eventually McGowan gets you inside Catrine's head, and once that happens, it's no different than any other absorbing reading experience.
Is there adequate payoff for the challenge? I'd say so. I'd say that Ms. McGowan is an enormous literary talent, that her explorations of memory, childhood, and life ont he outside are as compelling as any I've read. If the final message fails to deliver a knock out punch to some readers, I'd say that maybe that's because the messages we can garner from living and schooling are, like Catrine, utterly inarticulate.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A troubled 13 year old girl goes away to boarding school, where she is drawn into an unhealthy relationship with her teacher. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Alexandra Fallows
Uh! Really? Pretentious. Going back to the library and not soon enough! The no punctuation killed me! Read morePublished on May 21, 2013 by Tracy Clark
I admit it was not the easiest thing to read, especially when the extent of your daily reading ritual are subtitles. Read morePublished on July 21, 2009 by Victoria Cano
Ack! I cannot abide by this writing style. It reminds me of Rick Moody. It's too cool, snide, disjointed, and artificial. I can't get past the first 50 pages. Read morePublished on January 30, 2006 by Reb
Reading and then re-reading this book last year was a thrilling literary experience.
I picked up the book just on the strength of the cover - I hadn't read the reviews,... Read more
The style this book is written in is pretentious blabber mimicking as art - I read a book a week and so consider myself well-read and literate but this is too much. Read morePublished on July 27, 2004 by gwendolise
I'll admit that at times this book was confusing, but it was still excellent. The writing style was really different, ex. Read morePublished on March 11, 2004 by erica
but this book made no sense at all. I couldn't understand anything. I made it through the first couple of pages and couldn't go any further. It was awful. Read morePublished on December 1, 2003