Joan Taylor Conversations With Mr. Prain

ISBN 13: 9781935554455

Conversations With Mr. Prain

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9781935554455: Conversations With Mr. Prain

Overlooked by critics on its initial release in 2006, this erotically charged mystery has nonetheless continued to develop such a following among booksellers that Melville House has decided to re-release it in a stunning new package.

As for the story that's earning such loyalty: it's a whip-smart conversation between Stella, a vivacious, aspiring writer and Bohemian eco-activist, and Edward Prain, a refined connoisseur of the rare books on hand in Stella's fusty London bookstall.

While Prain is mysteriously aloof about his background, Stella finds his insights into art more and more stimulating, until one rainy afternoon she makes a surprising discovery: Prain is the head of England's most prestigious publishing house and a leading collector of art. And now, he would like her to come to tea at his country estate . . . to discuss her writing.

Stella is too intrigued to say no. Yet their cat-and-mouse game only intensifies at his sumptuous estate, where she finds herself engaged in an increasingly devilish conversation on the making of art, the selling of art, and the protection of self until Prain reveals that he knows more about her past than he has ever let on. . . .

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About the Author:

JOAN TAYLOR is an historian and the author of several books on ancient religious history and archeology, including the prize- winning Christians and the Holy Places, and The Englishman, The Moor and the Holy City: The True Adventures of an Elizabethan Traveller. A native New Zealander, she currently lives in England, where she lectures widely on religion and philosophy. This is her first novel.

From Publishers Weekly:

In Taylor's intriguing but uneven debut novel, the power of the imagination is pitted against reality in the relationship between an unpublished novelist and a powerful book publisher. Polar opposites-in the literary world and otherwise-struggling young writer and artists' model Stella first meets publishing mogul Edward Prain in the bookstall she runs. Prain becomes a regular, and though they know they make an unsuitable match, the two engage in some intellectual flirting that turns serious when Prain asks to read her work-and then reveals that he bought a nude photo of her a year before. When Stella moves into Prain's mansion to work on her manuscript, her imagination begins to run away with her, and a cat-and-mouse game of sexual attraction and psychological manipulation ensues. Amid much discussion of the art and publishing worlds, Taylor tells a compelling story. Her characters, especially Stella, have a tendency to act on strange motives and reach nonsensical conclusions, apparently to accommodate the ideas Taylor wishes to explore-the role of fantasy in life, art and commerce, and the potential for destruction that lies therein. Though it can puzzle and ultimately frustrate-especially in the silly, rushed dénouement-this novel takes smart chances and almost pulls them off.
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