The Rehearsal

Eleanor Catton

The Rehearsal

A high-school sex scandal jolts a group of teenage girls into a new awareness of their own potency and power. The sudden and total publicity seems to turn every act into a performance and every platform into a stage. But when the local drama school decides to turn the scandal into a show, the real world and the world of the theater are forced to meet, and soon the boundaries between private and public begin to dissolve. 4.4 out of 5 based on 10 reviews
The Rehearsal

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction
Format Hardback
Pages 320
RRP £12.99
Date of Publication July 2009
ISBN 978-1847081162
Publisher Granta
 

A high-school sex scandal jolts a group of teenage girls into a new awareness of their own potency and power. The sudden and total publicity seems to turn every act into a performance and every platform into a stage. But when the local drama school decides to turn the scandal into a show, the real world and the world of the theater are forced to meet, and soon the boundaries between private and public begin to dissolve.

Read an extract from the book on the Guardian's website

"Debut novelist Eleanor Catton is new talent" - Sunday Times, 12/7/09

Reviews

The Financial Times

Adrian Turpin

In common with more traditional school-age stories, dawning self-consciousness and disappearing innocence are key subjects. But it is the inventiveness with which Catton plays on these themes, not the themes themselves, that makes this book so engaging. It would be tempting to call it experimental, if that word didn’t suggest writing that is stodgy and self-indulgent. To the contrary, The Rehearsal is controlled, elegant and utterly readable, even at its most slippery.

20/07/2009

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The Guardian

Justine Jordan

This astonishing debut novel from young New Zealander Eleanor Catton is a cause for surprise and celebration: smart, playful and self-possessed, it has the glitter and mystery of the true literary original. Though its impulses and methods can only be called experimental, the prose is so arresting, the storytelling so seductive, that wherever the book falls open it's near-impossible to put down.

18/07/2009

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The Scotsman

Tom Adair

As debuts go, this one is astral – as well as teasing, intelligent and knowing... She does dialogue – street smart or stylised, with equal aplomb, gives the characters subtle transcendence whilst also shifting them through a room and out the door without you remarking on technique. She can capture a mood, paint a setting, and squeeze a relationship through the eye of a single sentence with seeming ease. So much accomplishment carried so lightly.

27/06/2009

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The Times

Melissa Katsoulis

Timeframes overlap and collide in this ingenious ontological kaleidoscope of a debut, but the experimentalism — which demands that the reader keep all her wits about her — is tempered by a real knack for narrative and a cast of painfully familiar teenage characters who are all desperate to be as confident, cool, charismatic and funny as possible. These are qualities that the extraordinary Eleanor Catton has in spades.

04/07/2009

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The Independent

Jonathan Gibbs

[A] remarkable first novel... The Rehearsal is no rehearsal. It's a supremely confident piece of writing, and although the dryness of its characters and lack of real plot may put some readers off, the clarity of its thought and language make it a definite contender for debut of the year.

04/08/2009

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The Daily Mail

Carla McKay

It is indeed brilliant, but difficult in a postmodern, creative-writerly sort of way... Catton has formidable talent which is showcased here; but in her next novel she needs to engage our emotions as well, by working within a less experimental framework.

21/07/2009

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The New Statesman

Tara Graham

...a vivid and acute portrait of the anxieties of late adolescence... Catton is a fresh and exciting talent, and she endows her young characters with a precocious understanding of their own emotions.

23/07/2009

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The Sunday Telegraph

Lucy Beresford

Catton, barely out of her teens herself, captures the self-conscious agony of adolescence beautifully... The Rehearsal is about identity and anxiety and longing. Which brings me to Catton’s prose style, which likes to link three adjectives in a way which starts as smart and self-aware and anchoring, but which quickly becomes repetitive and annoying and (as you can see) infectious. Without them, the narrative, with its clever borrowing of stagecraft such as soliloquies and stage directions, would really swing.

05/07/2009

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The Spectator

Simon Baker

...notwithstanding some adjectival overuse, Catton has a feel for words and an instinctively elegant style of phrasing, and her level of insight into people’s unspoken motivations is amusing and impressive to read... It is far from being fully realised: the frenetic structure cannot hide the essential lack of plot, and the dialogue is uneven... However, it is a first novel which promises much, and, despite its imperfections, it is a frequently admirable book.

05/08/2009

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The Daily Telegraph

Lorna Bradbury

Though there can be something of the creative-writing exercise about this, the novel is elevated by the fresh quality of the writing and, despite Catton’s strenuous efforts to remind the reader of the elements of performance in her text, the vividness of her two main characters... Compared to Catton’s powerful short story “Two Tides” in the current issue of Granta, The Rehearsal feels hampered by its formal concerns. It is difficult to escape the feeling that what is interesting – and moving – is what it manages to achieve despite this.

24/07/2009

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