Monday, October 21, 2013

The Rehearsal - A Review by Christina Gordon

Christina Gordon on facebook was heard to say:
I finished reading The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton yesterday. Thanks to Charlotte Otter for the recommendation. A wonderful read. I absolutely loved it!
It revolves around the effects/affects and various reconstructions in the discourses of other students and teachers over the sacking of a music teacher for having had an affair with the elder sister of one of the main characters. But there are no horses’ mouths talking over the subject, only the neighing and braying of other voices who are creating a whole mythology (and an entire play) from the tiniest snippets of knowledge and the plethora of rumours circulating over the incident. What becomes evident is that more important than the salacious 'topic' in this narrative is the 'theme' that’s being explored. This is very much an examination of the construction of self as character. There are some rather salient truths revealed, in a very clever manner, about how the gossip, fantasies and assumptions made of others is seeped in the construction of one’s individual personality.
The style of the writing makes the feel of the entire book like sitting and watching a play, but the rehearsal in the title refers less to the play in the book than to adolescence – the rehearsal for adulthood! I wish I’d had this book to read with I was 15/16, and I kept thinking while reading it that this is the sort of book that should be on the high-school curriculum.
I will definitely be putting The Luminaries on my to be read list. Catton is an exceptional talent!