The English Teacher

The English Teacher

A Novel

Book - 2005
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With superb craftsmanship, effortlessly suspenseful pacing, and tenderly observed insight, Lily King expertly limns the life of an independent single mother and her fifteen-year-old son, who is on a circuitous path toward a truth she has long concealed from him. Fifteen years ago Vida Avery arrived alone and pregnant at elite Fayer Academy. By living on campus, on an island off the New England coast, Vida has cocooned herself and her son, Peter, from the outside world and from an inside secret. For years she has lived largely through the books she teaches, but when she accepts the impulsive marriage proposal of ardent widower Tom Belou, the prescribed life Vida has constructed is swiftly dismantled. As Vida begins teaching her signature book, "Tess of the D'Urbervilles," a tale of an ostracized woman and social injustice, its themes begin to echo eerily in her own life and Peter sees that the mother he perceived as indomitable is collapsing and it is up to him to help. "The English Teacher" is a passionate tale of a mother and son's vital bond and a provocative look at our notions of intimacy, honesty, loyalty, family, and the real meaning of home.
Publisher: New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, c2005.
ISBN: 9780871138972
Branch Call Number: KING
Characteristics: 244 p.


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Apr 19, 2017

The writing is good. One sticks with it to the end. Don't know what this says about the reader.

This is the second novel of Lily King's I've read hoping the 'heroine' would off herself and let all the people she's been abusing get on with their lives and find some happiness.

Why does this author write about dysfunctional and somewhat abusive but "wildly attractive" (according to her) women who have some terrible secret to hide from their distant past that makes them irresistible to decent men and children?

I'm tempted but determined to stay away from The Pleasing Hour until I've read something positive and uplifting beforehand.

Feb 07, 2016

This is the third Lily King book I've read, kicked off after reading Euphoria, DPL's Community Read. It is interesting reading her books in reverse chronological order. Euphoria is by far the best of the three I've read so far, and you can see some commons themes throughout all of them. Strong but flawed female characters, alcoholism, teachers, sex, etc.

I wasn't sure I liked this book as I started reading it. The getting married and then having a breakdown thing often bores me. I've just read it too often. However, the breakdown and the aftermath actually go somewhere new and interesting, with a plot twist I saw coming a long ways off but that was still interesting when it happened. I like this one better than Father of the Rain but not as much as Euphoria.

prkmbc Sep 10, 2011

February 2006

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