"Riveting...while evocative of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Picnic at Hanging Rock, Kohler's writing is so smoothly confident and erotic that she has produced a tale resonant with a chilling power all its own."—Elle
In Sheila Kohler's brilliant 1999 novel, a beautiful schoolgirl mysteriously disappears into the South African veld. Forty years later, thirteen members of the missing girl's swimming team gather at their old boarding school for a reunion, and look back to the long, dry weeks leading to Fiamma's disappearance. As teenage memories and emotions resurface, the women relive the horror of a long-buried secret. A stunning and singular tale of the passion and tribalism of adolescence, Cracks lays bare the violence that lurks in the heart of even the most innocent.
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Put adolescents together in a confined environment with only minimal adult supervision, and bad things will happen--a truism in literature as well as life. (Think The Children's Hour, think Lord of the Flies.) But in Sheila Kohler's eerie, atmospheric Cracks, the bad things that will happen are not the ones you might expect, and the message is far more complex than just "Children are savages." (Although they certainly are.) Written in an ominously anonymous first person plural, the novel follows the 12 girls on the swim team at a South African boarding school. They include the jock, the pretty one, the brain, the fat girl, and perhaps most interestingly, the shadowy Sheila Kohler, a storyteller whose tales all "came to the same dramatic finale: violent death..." All of them are in love with the dashing Miss G, their swim instructor, and a "crack," as it turns out, is a crush--the embodiment of all of adolescence's formless yearnings:
When you had a crack you saw things more clearly: the thick dark of the shadows and the transparence of the oak leaves in the light and the soft glow of the pink magnolia petals against their waxy leaves. You wanted to lie down alone in the dark in the music room and listen to Rachmaninoff and to the summer rains rushing hard down the gutters. You left notes for your crack in her mug next to her toothbrush on the shelf in the bathroom. If you accidentally brushed up against your crack and felt her boosie, you nearly fainted.When they're not swimming, the members of the team amuse themselves by torturing new girls and taking turns fainting in chapel, until Fiamma Coronna throws everything off balance. A breathtaking Italian princess, a first-class swimmer, Fiamma quickly earns the girls' enmity by becoming Miss G's favorite. Worse still, she shows no interest in her teammates at all, and the usual hazing soon escalates to something far more serious. Heat dust, frangipani, adolescent sexuality simmering just under the surface: this could all have gone terribly, terribly wrong. It doesn't, and Kohler's elegant prose is the main reason why. The girls may be overheated, but the author's language never is. --Chloe Byrne About the Author:
Sheila Kohler is the author of five novels, including Cracks, Crossways, The Perfect Place, and Children of Pithiviers (all available in paperback from Other Press). Cracks was chosen by New York Newsday and Library Journal as one of the best books of 1999. Kohler has also published three collections of short stories. A native of South Africa, she makes her home in New York City and teaches at Bennington College in Vermont.
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Descripción Other Press. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. New, unread, and unused. Nº de ref. de la librería ABS-1275-1015
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