Heather McGowan Schooling

ISBN 13: 9780571206711

Schooling

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9780571206711: Schooling
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Catrine Evans, a young American, is sent to an English boarding school after her mother dies of cancer. Thrust into an unfriendly world and ridiculed for her accent, Catrine lays bare her thoughts in a luminous stream-of-consciousness narrative.

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Review:

Heather McGowan's Schooling is vivid, anguished and compelling, as she focuses on Catrine's experiences at her father's old English boarding school, where she goes when her American mother dies and her Welsh father returns with her to Britain. McGowan enters not only Catrine's thoughts, but also those of her peers, her teachers and her father. She interleaves within the narrative structure myriad voices through such tropes as a play on words, a play on plays (Hamlet; Aristophanes' The Birds) and an unexpected first-person short story. The impression of a constant shift of perspective deceives the reader into frequently casting Catrine on the sidelines, one player among many, and yet she also acts as narrator, reading and recording the minds of those she encounters. Action and thought intersect closely; everyday speech from her teachers and school friends is recorded alongside her fears and emotions, sometimes within one sentence, so that the subject moves from her to her Chemistry teacher to her friend in America.

Although Schooling is a novel that is rightly fêted for its stream-of-consciousness narrative, it contains many incidents that would aptly fit in any boarding-school story and which make absorbing reading: smoking surreptitiously, bullying, sniffing glue, putting on a school play, punishment for "indecent" photographs, minor arson. These incidents are purely that, though--incidental to the main story. They emerge sometimes startlingly through the thick, heady fug of Catrine's relationship with her Chemistry teacher, which is cast beautifully and poetically as innocent and all-enveloping. The denouement of the tale perhaps should be expected, despite the timeless feel of the novel, but it is orchestrated feelingly. McGowan has written a compulsive account of adolescence that moves and grips the reader while stirring sometimes unwanted memories of being 14 and at school. --Olivia Dickinson

Review:

'It is a comfort to find the real thing... and this unsettling, imperfect, but formidable debut is no exception.' Times Literary Supplement; 'I want to say Schooling is the best book I've ever read... and the only book quite unlike any other. It gives you faith that novels can be different' London Review of Books

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780375714320: Schooling (Vintage Contemporaries)

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0375714324 ISBN 13:  9780375714320
Publisher: Vintage, 2002
Softcover

9780385501385: Schooling

Double..., 2001
Hardcover

9781587240485: Schooling (Wheeler Hardcover)

Wheele..., 2001
Hardcover

9780571206513: Schooling

Faber ..., 2001
Softcover

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