In 1997, at the distinguished Siddons School on Manhattan's Upper East Side, the school year opens with distressing news: Astra Dell is suffering from a rare disease. Astra's friends try to reconcile the sick girl's suffering with their own fierce longings and impetuous attachments. Car writes unsparing letters, which the dirty Marlene, in her devotion, then steals. Other classmates carry on: The silly team of Suki and Alex pursue Will Bliss while the subversive Lisa Van de Ven makes dates with Miss Wilkes. The world of private schools and privilege in New York City is funny, poignant, cruel, and at its heart is a sick girl, Astra Dell, "that pale girl from the senior class, the dancer with all the hair, the red hair, knotted or braided or let to fall to her waist, a fever and she consumed."
National Book Award Finalist Christine Schutt has created a wickedly original tale of innocence, daring and illness.
About Christine SchuttSee more books from this Author
Peripheral characters circle, including Wendell Bliss, father of another Siddons heartthrob, whose wealth has brought nothing but alienation, and Astra’s father, blindsided by fate, which robbed him first of his wife, (killed by an errant cab) and now threatens to take his only child.| Read Full Review of All Souls
While Car stays home writing Astra morbid letters (“The only thing you have to excel at now is leaving”), Marlene goes to the hospital to bask in the “white radiance of her attention,” returning home “a sharpened arrow thrummed from the bow and hitting its target.” These are ardently bookish gir...Aug 29 2008 | Read Full Review of All Souls
The brutal, materialistic and dysfunctional underbelly of prep schools and the females who live in it create the foundation for Schutt’s beautifully written but light-on-substance novel (following 2004’s National Book Award finalist Florida ).Jan 21 2008 | Read Full Review of All Souls
Christine Schutt writes of a private girls school in New York City.Apr 20 2008 | Read Full Review of All Souls
The world of private schools and privilege in New York City is funny, poignant, cruel, and at its heart is a sick girl, Astra Dell, "that pale girl from the senior class, the dancer with all the hair, the red hair, knotted or braided or let to fall to her waist, a fever and she consumed."
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