Eleanor Catton

The Rehearsal

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April 2008

Paperback, 140 x 210mm

Named Best First Novel in the Montana New Zealand Book Awards 2009

Longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 

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 theatre are forced to meet, and soon the boundaries between private and public begin to dissolve …

The Rehearsal is an exhilarating and provocative novel about the unsimple mess of human desire. Startlingly original, it is at once a tender evocation of its young protagonists and a shrewd exposé of emotional compromise. It introduces Eleanor Catton, a boldly inventive and extraordinarily accomplished new voice in fiction.

The Rehearsal is dense with ideas, paradoxes and propositions that reverberate long after closing the book; but it also has an emotional intensity – it is provocative in every sense – that reminds one of Proust.' —Elizabeth Caffin, NZ Books

‘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.’ —Justine Jordan, The Guardian

‘The reader witnesses risks, excitements, fluidity; everything is a copy of something else, and yet nothing is the same twice. There is room for play and experimentation, and while there is a good deal at stake, the people the characters most want to impress, and fear to disappoint, are each other: those sharing the scene with them, and not an invisible audience. The effect is very much like watching, not a play, but a rehearsal.’ —Lidija Haas, TLS

The Rehearsal is controlled, elegant and utterly readable, even at its most slippery.’ —Adrian Turpin, The Financial Times

‘As debuts go, this one is astral – as well as teasing, intelligent and knowing.' —Tom Adair, The Scotsman

‘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.’ —Melissa Katsoulis, The Times

‘This is a daring book, full of velvety pleasures but never afraid to show its claws. Eleanor Catton is crazily talented and insightful – and best of all, she makes language seem new.’ —Emily Perkins

‘a startling novel, striking and strange and brave.’ —Louise O'Brien, Listener

‘Beautifully crafted and insightful, The Rehearsal is a delicious read. It leaves the reader’s senses and intellect utterly sated. But at the same time, silently craving more.’ —Jolene Williams, Salient

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