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Temples of Delight (Paperback)
Jem McCrail is a fantastical godsend to the timid young Alice Pilling. "Like a dropped acorn," she appears halfway through the week, halfway through the term, and halfway through Miss Aldridge's Silent Reading Hour. Through the doorway she barely clears, wearing clothes like the urchin she encountered in her favorite P. G. Wodehouse story, Jem leads the stammering Alice into a world of culture, truancy, and bizarrerie--a world far beyond the dull lessons of school. The girls cultivate a steadfast bond based on a wicked and encircling sense of humor, an impish joy in indelicate literature, and Mozart's The Magic Flute.
Then, as abruptly as she came, Jem disappears.
The years and schools that follow, as well as the lovers, do not dim the image of the wondrous Jem. The disheartened Alice is almost ready to settle into an ordinary life when an accident and the intervention of a latter-day fallen angel impel her to go on one more wild and extravagant journey. Like the opera it echoes, the result is pure enchantment.
"Why did it take me so long to discover the singular joys of Barbara Trapido's novels? Why, for so many years, had I missed these witty, soulful, heartbreaking, expansive, brilliant tales? I have become a literary evangelist on her behalf. On account of my badgering, all my friends now love her, too.I won't rest until everyone in America has read (and fallen in love with) this fabulous author." --Elizabeth Gilbert
About the Author
Barbara Trapido is the author of seven novels including Brother of the More Famous Jack (winner of a Whitbread special prize for fiction), Temples of Delight (shortlisted for the Sunday Express Book of the Year Award), The Travelling Horn Player, and, most recently, Frankie and Stankie (shortlisted for the 1998 Whitbread Novel Award and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize). She lives in Oxford.
“A work written with authority and ease . . . Temples of Delight celebrates imagination in fiction and in life.” —New York Times Book Review
“As lush and original as it is playful and ironic, Temples of Delight is a grown-up version of an adolescent fantasy . . . . It is quirky, wise and warm, full of charm and entirely original.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Barbara Trapido applies her sharp sense of social nuances and her dry wit to advance the proposition that love conquers all. [With] a light, sure touch . . . she manages to make the improbable surprisingly possible.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Joyful and mysterious through and through . . . . It is modern and hip . . . and hides its depth in luxurious folds of humor.” —Los Angeles Times