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Unfinished desires : a novel by Gail Godwin

Unfinished desires : a novel (edition 2009)

by Gail Godwin

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3563730,619 (3.25)32
Title:Unfinished desires : a novel
Authors:Gail Godwin
Info:New York : Random House, c2009.
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:North Carolina, Catholic schools, nuns, students

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Unfinished Desires by Gail Godwin



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Love Gail Godwin's writing, but this book was about twice as long as it should've been. I was tired of the characters by the time I finished. ( )
  smallwonder56 | Apr 29, 2017 |
This novel is based on Godwin's own experiences at a Catholic day school in North Carolina. The retired headmistress is writing a memoir /historyof the school and is drawn back to a certain incident in the early 1950s that caused the expulsion of several students as well as her own leave of absence. But it is as much about the relationships between women - mothers and daughters, teachers and students, and the passionate friendships that exist between adolscent girls. In some ways, it is a very conventional novel, in others, a surprising and penetrating look at how power manifests itself in those same relationships and how religion was one way that women could empower themselves, even within the confines of a traditional church. There are also shadows of other great novels about teachers - The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie comes to mind.

( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
This novel recounts the turbulent freshman year of a class of Catholic school girls in the 1950s. The primary thread of the book revolves around the friendship of three young girls whose innocent childhood games would wreak consequences they couldn't possibly know.

This moving tale about teenage drama, religion, and memory that spans multiple generations and view points. ( )
  Juva | Mar 23, 2015 |
thanks Bethany!
  pam.enser | Apr 1, 2013 |
The fictional Mt. St. Gabriel's girls school was located in the North Carolina Mountains. It was a fairly exclusive Catholic School run by a Mother Suzanne Ravenel until the school's closure in 1990. The aging nun is now residing in a convent in the Boston area and has been asked to dictate a history of the school which will be transcribed by former students. I wanted to like the book better than I did because of its setting just across the mountains from where I live. I think the book suffered from lack of a more structured organization. The story spanned multiple generations, and it was sometimes difficult to sort the characters and figure out which generation you were currently reading if you'd put the book down a few hours. The book seemed longer than necessary to tell the story it told, and it felt that many stories were repeated in different places throughout the book. The book seems to have been inspired by a school called St. Genevieve of the Pines which merged with an all male school much earlier than Mt. St. Gabriel's of the book closed. Apparently both schools have now been absorbed by Asheville Country Day School. ( )
1 vote thornton37814 | Jan 3, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
Godwin offers skillful writing and her usual acute insights into the complex bonds women form as friends, siblings, mothers, daughters — and, possibly, lovers... Unfortunately, the plot and the book's bloat doom Unfinished Desires.
added by Shortride | editUSA Today, Deidre Donahue (Jan 28, 2010)
Gail Godwin’s reserved yet powerful new novel, “Unfinished Desires,” is set in a Roman Catholic boarding school in the mountains of North Carolina...Godwin has created several deeply affecting characters...
added by fannyprice | editNew York Times (Jan 8, 2010)
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If you go out walking in our dark wood / When the hawk's face is tucked beneath his wing / And mist has risen in the hollows / And the owl shrieks: / Do not shrink if on your path / You meet a sollitary ghost. / Ask it, What did you love most? / And what have you left undone?" --Prologue to Suzanne Ravenel's 1931 school play, The Red Nun
To Father David Louis Bronson
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The room, though small, is light and airy. A highly polished writing table overlooks a square of lawn with flower borders. On the left side of the table, sharpened pencils have been placed slantwise across a brand-new yellow legal pad. Just behind the pad perches a small brass dinner bell. On the right side of the table is a silver serving tray. Laid out on its starched white cloth are a cut-glass water goblet, a silver pitcher beaded with frost, a tea napkin embroidered with a rose, a package of colored M&M's, and a xdesigner box of Kleenex tissues.
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Sparking enthusiasm for a play about the founding of their North Carolina mountains Catholic girls' school, a charismatic ninth grader and her recently orphaned best friend set in motion a series of events that have decades-long ramifications.

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