Friday, September 14, 2007

Pg. 99: Aurelie Sheehan's "History Lesson for Girls"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Aurelie Sheehan's History Lesson for Girls.

About the book, from the publisher:
A beautiful and resonant novel about a friendship that shaped a life during a decade of instability

Everyone remembers age thirteen. For Alison Glass, it was 1975, the year she moved to Weston, Connecticut, with her bohemian parents and her horse, Jazz. Life was about trying to navigate the hypocrisies of an unfamiliar affluent town and figuring out how she might blend in at school — despite her status as the new girl with a back brace for scoliosis. Kate Hamilton, the popular daughter of an egomaniacal New Age guru — the "sham shaman" — and his substance-loving wife, was an unlikely friend, the strong girl Alison regarded as her saving grace. Bonding over their love of horses, they rode away the afternoons, creating a private world for themselves as a way to survive the excesses of their surroundings and the adults who cast them adrift in such a tumultuous time. With the clarity of hindsight, Alison looks back on how the tumult inevitably broke through.

Set against the backdrop of the often hilariously tacky and disturbingly reckless 1970s, Aurelie Sheehan's luminous History Lesson for Girls is at once an emotional inquest and an elegy for a friendship that meant everything. As Alison traces the giddy highs and crushing lows that made her the person she was at thirteen, a picture emerges of a friendship that simply couldn't survive the weight of the shadows under which it was forged. Combining the poignancy and elegance of The Virgin Suicides with the sharp observational eye of The Ice Storm, History Lesson for Girls is an enchanting tribute to the lingering influence of friendship and significance of personal history.
Among the praise for the novel:
"[Sheehan's] language remains carefully off-kilter, gorgeously specific and shot through with unobtrusive wit."
--Kirkus Reviews

"A tender, unflinching, and distinctive view of how girls grow up."
Read an excerpt from History Lesson for Girls, and learn more about the book at the publisher's website.

Aurelie Sheehan is the author of a collection of short stories, Jack Kerouac Is Pregnant, and another novel, The Anxiety of Everyday Objects. She has received a Pushcart Prize, a Carmargo Fellowship, and the Jack Kerouac Literary Award.

The Page 99 Test: History Lesson for Girls.

--Marshal Zeringue