Monday, July 15, 2013

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani

This well reviewed, highly proclaimed book is all that has been said about it and more, it is also the weirdest book I have ever read, needless to say I love, love, loved it!
Set in the late 1920`s at a Boarding School in North Carolina, the centre of the story is young Thea Atwell and the swirling world that revolves around her once she arrives at this almost mystical Establishment for refined young ladies whose future is to marry and to marry well.
Thea`s reasons for finding herself at Yonahlossee slowly reveal themselves as do the characters surrounding her, one of this debut authors strengths is the way she slowly and with a very deft touch unpacks her characters and their baggage, they are beautifully drawn and more than believable even if most of them are highly unlikeable. It is not hard to sympathise with these fellow journey persons nor to understand them but liking them is a whole different kettle of fish and one that I could not resolve, even Thea didn`t do it for me except in those moments when I felt a pang of sympathy.
The remarkable thing about this book is that you don`t have to like the characters to really enjoy the story which can get a bit gritty in places and the ability of the author to understand human nature adds a whole dimension to the readers experience, there is no unwanted sap and no attempt to trick the reader, these characters are what they are... good, bad and indifferent and mostly in one way or another bad.
The story zips along, in and out of past and present,and never slows in pace, the suspense along will keep you wanting to know what will happen next and why. I like the atmospheric feel to this book, the mysteries within the mystery. I think that the author has painted an exquisite picture of the era, no detail has been left wanting.
A very good read for me, not all will like it, there are aspects that will polarise readers and turn some off, it would make an amazing Book Club read.
Available in Paperback and from the Library System.

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