Temples of Delight Paperback – 25 Jul 1991
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'One of the funniest books I've read in a long time' Time Out 'Temples of Delight is so readable, so full of incidental pleasures and curiosities, that one could easily overlook its terrifying honesty' Philip Hensher, Guardian 'Her characters are larger than life ... Temples of Delight shows how grief is implicit in joy. It makes you laugh and it moves you' Sunday Times 'Steel yourself for a baroque romance of untimely deaths, orphan babes, stolen novels, canny nuns and dark, forceful lovers' Company --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Barbara Trapido was born and educated in South Africa and came to London in 1963. She lives in Oxford. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
When the story opens Alice is the fifth form of a private girls school (for both day girls and boarders). She in thrall to Jem(ima) who has just arrived having been expelled from a convent school. Alice is unaware of this, and equally unaware that this will be Jem's last year unless she wins a scholarship to take her into the 6th form.
Jem is both friendly and precocious and introduces Alice to the three R's the school does not teach, namely Religion (Catholicism), Romance and Relationships, and shows Alice some stories she has written on just these themes. Unfortunately Jem does not get the scholarship which goes to another girl whose father is quite wealthy enough to fund her himself. She therefore vanishes from the school but leaves her stories with Alice for safe keeping. Alice continues on to the 6th form and does sufficiently well to get a place at Oxford. (The alternative, which Alice can't face, would be to join her mother's estate agency.)
At Oxford she runs into a guy called Roland (or rather he runs into her on his bicycle while coaching the school rowing team from the Orwell towpath). Roland, full of remorse, takes her under his wing and they become friends. Friendship is all she wants, but of course he would like something more. This comes to a head one day when they out driving in his vintage Deux Cheveaux. She is so horrified at the idea of losing her virginity in the nearby woodland that she drives the car into a close by river!Read more ›
Make no mistake, this IS a girls' school story - but in the modern idiom. The girls grow up and have families, feelings and characters. Alice's is very shallow, but Jem's is a vibrant foil. The pathetic Flora and her sad little family will make you sad, or angry - so will Alice's patronising teacher boyfriend! Then there is Alice's father, the north eastern building manager, who is lovely and a joy to encounter; he is refreshingly down-to-earth in Alice's world, which has been mixed into a frothy consistency by the arrival of Jem.
This is a lovely, lovely book.
True, the first part of the book does read a little like a schoolgirl story, but that is comforting in itself. As you read on, you will Alice to come out of her comforting coccoon and cheer at her growing discontentment with the subtle bully Roland. Yet the delayed drop of Alice's 'growing up' is tantalising as yet again she is 'rescued' and cosseted by her well-meaning yet suffocating parents, then suffers compounded misfortune and finally starts to question and think for herself.
A very enjoyable book that I will read over and over.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Disappointing - found it boring and didn't. like the main character.Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
Moving book about teenage and early adult life, arrived on time.Published 20 months ago by Malcolm S.
Read it. I couldn't put it down. The characterisation is great and the plot pulls you through at the rate of knots.Published 24 months ago by P. Kidd
Great story beautifully written, marvellous author. Well,packed, arrived in very good time.Published on 20 July 2014 by gmag42
Not at all what you would imagine from the titlebut interesting
never the less, its about shopping of course and very funny in parts.
Alice's friendship with the subversive Jem is life changing and its effects linger after Jem has abruptly disappeared. Read morePublished on 2 May 2013 by Hils T