A year ago I did a review for Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries which won the Manbooker for 2013. It is a long book, detailed and equally mesmerizing, just perfect for nerds. That was her second, I just read her first work of fiction, ‘The Rehearsal’ which actually was Catton’s graduate Thesis. I am willing to ignore a few flaws it has for the sheer pleasure of coming across a piece of writing that is brilliantly prose-d, deeply thought of and classically unorthodox. Considering how Catton progressed from this to The Luminaries, shows her strength as a writer.
The rehearsal is almost a piece of academically written literature where there are a few names and more character sketches, revealed through the dialogues. Each character talks rather academically and this is also one of its flaws. A 16 year old utters the same way a professor does, with eloquent speech and hard vocabulary. However, the dialogues are a commentary on actions and their consequences and not just some random piece of fiction. The story or rather the setting deals with a school of music and a school of acting where scandal hits and turns into artistic interpretation. You might have not thought about these trivial themes in depth before, Catton guarantees that you think about human actions again once you get hooked to this one.
I have not read any high school-ish drama with the use of language that Catton does, and this has rendered her as one of my favorite authors. I highly recommend that you ditch the likes of Judy Picoult and other nonsense and switch to Catton’s writing for nothing but sheer literary aesthetic! I for one cannot wait for her next publication whenever that may be.