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May 16, 2010

The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton

To write about Eleanor Catton’s The Rehearsal in 350 words was one of the most demanding and complex writerly tasks I have ever undertaken, and my review of the novel appears on the April 2010 of Quill & Quire (available here online). The first novel by the precocious Catton, The Rehearsal is difficult, devourable, innovative, frustrating, and fascinating. I didn’t love it, but I don’t think it even wanted me to, and it’s a stunning novel in particular for being written in an time in which so many stories are the same. Truly, this is something different. And though the parallels are by no means straightforward, and I don’t think liking one is a recommendation for the other, The Rehearsal is more like The Westing Game than any other novel I’ve read as an adult. Trying to get it all straight, however– especially in 350 words– was completely exhausting, and my mind is shutting down now just considering it again.

So I’ll let others try. Stephany Aulenback recommends it at Crooked House. The Rehearsal is the May Book Club selection at Eye Weekly. And a rave review in The Toronto Star.

One thought on “The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton”

  1. Oooo, devourable: that’s a great adjective to choose for this book. And the reference to The Westing Game brings up some terrific reading memories (although I never found any of Raskin’s other novels quite as satisfying). I found Catton’s first novel a fascinating puzzle too, clever enough to involve me to an almost-overwhelming degree without completely befuddling me.

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