Saturday, December 21, 2013

Rustication by Charles Palliser

Rustication: A Novel by Charles Palliser --- 323 pages

Ron Charles, reviewing Palliser's latest Victorian thriller in the Washington Post (Click HERE to read the full review) sums it up pithily:

"Getting suspended from college is a bummer. Coming home to find your mom and sister have moved into The House of Usher is worse."

Palliser's specialty is the Victorian era with all of its repressed sexuality, rigid class distinctions and morbid fascination with violence. The tale is told through the journal entries of seventeen-year-old Richard Shenstone, who has been sent down --- rusticated --- in disgrace by his college in Cambridge for reasons he would prefer not to admit to his mother and sister. They too have been "rusticated" --- driven from their home and deprived of their respectable position and income by the disgrace and death of their clergyman husband and father. They have taken refuge in a dilapidated old house on the edge of a marsh near a small village not far from their former abode in Thurchester, which Richard's mother says she inherited from her own father. But one thing soon becomes clear amongst all the complexities of this story, and that is that nothing is as it seems and no one is telling the whole truth, not in Richard's family, not amongst the other inhabitants of the village, not in Cambridge and not in Thurchester.Atmospheric and absorbing, this is the kind of story that will keep you up reading half the night, with all the lights on.

Charles Palliser was born in the U.S. but has lived in the U.K. since he was three years old. He holds dual American and Irish citizenship. A graduate of Oxford University, he lives in London and writes full-time. Rustication is his fifth published novel.

Watch this Youtube REVIEW of Rustication by British author Michael Johnston

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