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The Lessons by Naomi Alderman
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The Lessons (original 2010; edition 2011)

by Naomi Alderman

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963125,712 (3.26)4
Member:Leander2010
Title:The Lessons
Authors:Naomi Alderman
Info:Penguin Books, London
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:fiction, Oxford

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The Lessons by Naomi Alderman (2010)

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This was my first encounter with Naomi Alderman's writing and it turned out to be very appealing: the spiritual love-child of The Secret History and Brideshead Revisited, which are two of my favourite novels. It follows the isolated, agnostic James who arrives as an undergraduate in Oxford, only to find that a running accident in his first term brings him into the orbit of the beautiful, fabulously rich and self-consciously dissolute Mark Winters. This troubled but captivating young man will come to influence not only James's time at Oxford but his life far beyond that. Conjuring up the intense feel of student life and undergraduate friendships, the book never quite shakes off the shadow of Brideshead (with which it shares a great deal), but nevertheless it's elegant, sensitive and thoroughly nostalgic.

For a more extensive review, please see my blog:
http://theidlewoman.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/the-lessons-naomi-alderman.html ( )
  Leander2010 | Nov 10, 2013 |
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For my grandmother Lily
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When I returned from San Ceterino late in the afternoon, I found that Mark and his friends had thrown half the food in our kitchen into the swimming pool.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"Hidden away in an Oxford back street is a crumbling Georgian mansion, unknown to any but the few who possess a key to its unassuming front gate. Its owner is the mercurial, charismatic Mark Winters, whose rackety trust-fund upbringing has left him as troubled and unpredictable as he is wildly promiscuous. Mark gathers around him an impressionable group of students: glamorous Emmanuella, who always has a new boyfriend in tow; Franny and Simon, best friends and occasional lovers; musician Jess, whose calm exterior hides passionate depths. And James, already damaged by Oxford and looking for a group to belong to. For a time they live in a charmed world of learning and parties and love affairs. But university is no grounding for adult life, and when, years later, tragedy strikes they are entirely unprepared. Universal in its themes of ambition, desire and betrayal, this spellbinding novel reflects the truth that the lessons life teaches often come too late." -- Publisher.… (more)

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