Edinburgh: A Novel Paperback – Nov 9 2002
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If a story about child molestation could ever be beautiful, this first novel comes very close to that unusual mark. Fee is a 12-year-old soprano in a boys choir in Maine. The choir director, however, is revealed to be a malicious pederast, who selects favorites from the choir and subjects them to frequent sexual abuse. The pain that Fee and his friends endure while growing up with this horrible fact, even after the director is imprisoned, is almost unfathomable. But Fee gets through it, although the dread stays with him all his life--through his self-destructive college days and as he courts a succession of lovers. Years later, as he begins teaching at a prep school, he encounters a beautiful student named Warden, the son of Fee's former choirmaster, who knows nothing of his father's deeds. Confronting this student, Fee is forced to contend with the demons of his boyhood and the very way he has lived his life. A spectacular, gripping, and gut-wrenching tale. Michael Spinella
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Alexander Chee's work has appeared in Interview, Big, Out, and in the anthologies Boys Like Us, Loss Within Loss, Men on Men 2000, and His 3. He teaches at the New School.
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Top Customer Reviews
Anyway, I was deeply touched by this novel. I felt that Chee was not afraid to get to the heart of things, and because he had the courage to enter where no one should enter, I also had courage to follow him. I love how the prose is internal, no chit-chat, just the hard, dark lines of the inside of the mind. It's as if Chee was so committed to his characters, the integrity of his characters, that he allows them to live and speak for themselves and create their own narratives. I forgot that I was reading a novel, I forgot that I was reading something crafted. I was inside the tunnel of Fee's (and Warden's) mind and saw glimpses of my own soul. I wept several times during this read. I will read everything this man has ever written...
It would give the plot away too much to go into more detail, other than to say that the author's writing style is often a challenge to read: events are frequently referred to obliquely or alluded to rather than described directly. Once you get used to this, the emotional effect is created by a feeling of close proximity to events rather than by stark realistic descriptions of them.
The overall feel this novel gave me was one of trying to understand human failure and the effects of such failure, and by doing so, to attempt to learn.
Most recent customer reviews
An emotionally devasting work of fiction. Alexander Chee is a writer of extravagant talents. Not since "The Hours" have I had to read through so many tears. Read morePublished on Dec 27 2003 by I. Sondel
I loved this book. You can take any page from it and just that one page alone is a masterpiece. Chee writes like a poet, but he has the talents of a storyteller. Read morePublished on Aug. 24 2003
Chee has a refreshing new/modern style of writing which evokes his generation and his youth. He communicates feelings and angst like it has rarely been done before. Read morePublished on Jan. 5 2003
I would like to recommend this book without giving any of the plot away. The author is Amerasian and in this book he has mixed East and West, an Eastern myth within the form of a... Read morePublished on Dec 3 2002 by Larry Mark MyJewishBooksDotCom
I suppose Mr. Chee had no way of knowing this novel would be so topical given the current child molestation scandal in the Catholic Church. Read morePublished on July 2 2002 by Foster Corbin
Creeping toward the uncomfortable, Edinburgh exposes the taboo of pedophilia. This is a story of defeat, numbness, loss, love, revenge, and pinching reality. Read morePublished on May 21 2002
This is a wonderful, very intense novel, that left me quite stunned at the end of it, which is why this could be a difficult review to write. Read morePublished on May 16 2002 by Simon Cross
There is a joy in discovering new novels by fresh young writers that compares favorably with the elation of returning to the works of the masters. Read morePublished on March 17 2002 by Grady Harp
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