The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton

The Rehearsal

Eleanor Catton

This book focuses on a number of taboo subjects including the sexual relationship between a teacher and a student. It tells the story of how the family cope, but also how their predicament is used by a local acting academy as its end of year show. Full of twists and turns, you will need to persevere as connections between seemingly unrelated characters are revealed late in the tale. Quite a challenge, but worth it.

'Thanks all for coming in, people', the counsellor is saying as Isolde walks in. He raises his palms like he is a politician or a priest. 'I'd really like to build on some of the issues that we raised in our last session. I thought that today we could talk about taking control'.
The room is almost full. Isolde looks around for a seat, nodding tersely at a few of her Sister's friends who look at her with sad eyes as if they are imagining themselves in her shoes and feeling sorry for themselves indeed. Isolde scowls. She slips into a chair and tries to scrunch down as low as possible. The counsellor smiles at her, a horrible rubbery proud smile that makes Isolde's skin creep, and she quickly looks away, down at her fingernails and the worn tatty cuffs or her school jersey. She suffers being questioned and patted and caressed by the girl sitting behind her, a stout motherly figure who was Victoria's tennis partner in intermediate school and once shared a paper bag of sweets with Isolde under the trees at the end of the lawn.
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Explicit sexual content