Daughters of the Revolution

Daughters of the Revolution

A Novel

Book - 2011
Average Rating:
5
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From the O. Henry Award--winning author of the story collection The Bostons --a New York Times Notable Book, Los Angeles Times Book of the Year and winner of the PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship for Writers--an exquisite first novel set at a disintegrating New England prep school.

It's 1968. The prestigious but cash-strapped Goode School in the town of Cape Wilde is run by its aging, philandering headmaster, Goddard Byrd, known to both his friends and his enemies as God. With Cape Wilde engulfed by the social and political storms of integration, coeducation and the sexual revolution, God has confidently promised coeducation "over my dead body." And then, through a clerical error, the Goode School admits its first female student: Carole Faust, a brilliant, intractable fifteen-year-old black girl.

What does it mean to be the First Girl?

Carolyn Cooke has written a ferociously intelligent, richly sensual novel about the lives of girls and women, the complicated desperation of daughters without fathers and the erosion of paternalistic power in an elite New England town on the cusp of radical social change. Remarkable for the precision of its language, the incandescence of its images, and the sly provocations of its moral and emotional predicaments, Daughters of the Revolution is a novel of exceptional force and beauty.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, c2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780307594730
Branch Call Number: COOK
Characteristics: 173 p. ; 25 cm

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geezr_rdr Nov 12, 2012

This is not a difficult read but unworthy of the effort. The disjointed literary style does not reflect any insight by the author. Pass on this one.

b
Brookecp
Jul 01, 2012

This is a failed attempt in fiction. Each character is so weakly assembled that they seem threadbare and as readers you are left to imagine the details. Strange bursts of creative writing abound but as a whole does NOT tell a story or have any development of character. A disappointment to my summer reading list.

h
halgeon
Dec 20, 2011

Was God Byrd a misogynist, a misguided community leader hanging on to tradition at all costs, a reformed and enlightened old man? Was Mei-Mei a tragic, lonely widow? Was EV a father figure-seeking anorexic? Was Carole a defiant, bisexual radical? Yes... No... Really, who cares?

The author doesn't give the reader enough opportunity to reach any sort of conclusion on the characters, or form any sort of bond or identification with them. As a result, this thin volume is... well... rather thin.

Or maybe this reader is too thick to recognize the thin nuance of the characters. If there was any.

p
Pasc
Nov 10, 2011

Syvia Brownrigg of the NY Times Review speaks of a certain kind of story writer who delights in seeing the world at an angle, keeping the reader off balance with narrative feints and unsettling-often comical-asides. She talks about a brisk realism.

The Goode School provides the canvas background. Daughters of the Revolution - EV and Carole Faust - flank God(dard) Byrd, himself surrounded by a previous generation of women who served and serviced him. Carolyn Cooke is a cubist painter who renders different facets of the story. However, the sum of the angles doesn't add to a complete story. It is our responsibility to make sense of it. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don't. It is fun though!

Lexicon_ Nov 06, 2011

This is the first book ever that I have not finished, once starting to read it. I simply could not continue. Each chapter skimmed the surface of an event, seen by different characters, but in a monotonous tone with no clear point. After doing the cardinal readers' sin and skipping to the very last pages, I was still disgusted. Awful.

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