Saturday, July 19, 2008
Elanor Catton - Victoria University Press - $30
Emily Perkins wrote of this just published new novel:
This is daring book, full of velvety pleasures but never afraid to show its claws. Elanor Catton is crazily talented and insightful - and best of all, she makes langauage new.
If Emily was not such a damned fine writer herself she could easily make a living writing cover blurbs for publishers!
I agree with her though that it is a daring book, and it is certainly full of velvety pleasures, it often borders on the erotic , but it is also a complex, very demanding piece of literary fiction, the sort of fiction one expects from a university press, from a risk-taking publisher like Fergus Barrowman.
There is of course a risk in any publishing of first fiction and although The Rehearsal won for its author the Adam Prize in Creative Writing this is not a novel that is going to be a big seller. The story is just too difficult for it ever to have a wide readership but Catton is only 23 and to produce something of this calibre first off suggests that she is one of whom we are going to hear a great deal more.