Several Deceptions by Jane Stevenson

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 2 Critic Reviews



Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Jane Stevenson's devilishly clever collection of four novellas is a delight to read. Her writing is smart, satirical, and at times very nearly over the top. In the first novella, an Anglo-Italian "professore," progeny of the Strachey "glitterati," decides that he can up the ante for his father's literary estate if he has a bit of fun. Hiring a secretarial temp to help organize the endless piles of materials, he inserts her into history, creating "a species of literary miner's canary." As often is the case, avarice proves his undoing, and his little zealot, "Miss Average Reader," has the last laugh.

Deceit plays a role in all four pieces, and in the erudite second, "Law and Order," a pair of identical twins-first-year law students Hendrik and Florian-are divided by a Svengali-like professor about whom rumors of war crimes swirl. When Hendrik decamps with his girlfriend, Florian beats a hasty retreat for the companionship of his professor and another acolyte. A reasonable scenario except for those nasty rumors-and the guns that Hendrik finds in his brother's room.

In the third novella, "The Colonel and Judy O'Grady," the acquaintance between an Irishwoman turned Buddhist and a military officer in India is revealed, complete with an O'Henryesque twist. And Stevenson's final piece in the collection, "Crossing the Water," assembles a group of Brits at a friend's country home. Emboldened by goblets full of claret, they contrive to burgle a painting from a neighbor, with archly humorous results.


About Jane Stevenson

See more books from this Author
JANE STEVENSON was born in London and brought up in London, Beijing, and Bonn. She teaches literature and history at the University of Aberdeen. She is the author of Several Deceptions, a collection of four novellas; a novel, London Bridges; and the acclaimed historical trilogy made up of the novels The Winter Queen, The Shadow King, and The Empress of the Last Days. Stevenson lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
Published January 1, 1999 by Jonathan Cape. 263 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Several Deceptions

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

In the Kiplingesque “The Colonel and Judy O’Grady,” an Irishwoman, who became a Buddhist nun and is now working in Scotland, tells a young lesbian graduate student of her encounter, in Simla, India, with a kindly colonel, who was not what he seemed.

| Read Full Review of Several Deceptions

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

When Simone, misguidedly altruistic, decides to pretend that ""Dreary Dora"" was a member of the late Strachey's glamorous scene, she winds up posing as Simone's effervescent, underrated wife, a '6os cult figure, and steals the show.

Sep 18 2000 | Read Full Review of Several Deceptions

Rate this book!

Add Review