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Temples of Delight (1990)

by Barbara Trapido

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309183,582 (3.68)2
Jem McCrail is a fantastical godsend to the timid young Alice Pilling. "Like a dropped acorn," she appears halfway through the week, halfway through the term, and halfway through Miss Aldridge's Silent Reading Hour. Through the doorway she barely clears, wearing clothes like the cowshed-crouching urchin she encountered in her favorite P. G. Wodehouse story, Jem leads the stammering Alice into a world of culture, truancy, and bizarrerie--a world far beyond the desiccated lessons of school. The girls cultivate a steadfast bond based on a wicked and encircling sense of humor, an impish joy in indelicate literature, and Mozart's The Magic Flute. Then, as abruptly as she came, Jem disappears. The years and schools that follow, as well as the lovers--one stuffy but competent, the other a smug would-be Thatcherite--do not dim the image of the wondrous Jem. The disheartened Alice is almost ready to settle when an accident and the intervention of a latter-day fallen angel impel her on one more wild and extravagant journey. At the end her quest will lead her through the portals opening to life's profoundest joys. Like the opera it echoes, the result is pure enchantment.… (more)
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» See also 2 mentions

מהתלה שטוטית וחסרת טעם. לא יותר מאשר רומן זעיר לא כל כך זעיר. ( )
  amoskovacs | Oct 15, 2011 |
no reviews | add a review

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For Mary Simons and Joe Trapidoand for Vina Pulseford. And in memory of Ruth Picardie (1964-1997)
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Jem was a joyful mystery to Alice.
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Jem McCrail is a fantastical godsend to the timid young Alice Pilling. "Like a dropped acorn," she appears halfway through the week, halfway through the term, and halfway through Miss Aldridge's Silent Reading Hour. Through the doorway she barely clears, wearing clothes like the cowshed-crouching urchin she encountered in her favorite P. G. Wodehouse story, Jem leads the stammering Alice into a world of culture, truancy, and bizarrerie--a world far beyond the desiccated lessons of school. The girls cultivate a steadfast bond based on a wicked and encircling sense of humor, an impish joy in indelicate literature, and Mozart's The Magic Flute. Then, as abruptly as she came, Jem disappears. The years and schools that follow, as well as the lovers--one stuffy but competent, the other a smug would-be Thatcherite--do not dim the image of the wondrous Jem. The disheartened Alice is almost ready to settle when an accident and the intervention of a latter-day fallen angel impel her on one more wild and extravagant journey. At the end her quest will lead her through the portals opening to life's profoundest joys. Like the opera it echoes, the result is pure enchantment.

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