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Several Deceptions [Paperback] by Stevenson, Jane

Jane Stevenson

40 valoraciones por Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0618049339 / ISBN 13: 9780618049332
Editorial: Mariner Books, 2000
Condición: Collectible - Like New Encuadernación de tapa blanda
Librería: Clovis Book Barn (Clovis, CA, Estados Unidos de America)

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1999. First Edition/First Printing. 263 pages. 1st UK edition, ISBN:0224059394. Signed by Author on title page. Book & dustjacket are in excellent condition. Hardback. Mylar jacket. 2000-09-19. N° de ref. de la librería SKU-7000216

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Título: Several Deceptions [Paperback] by Stevenson,...

Editorial: Mariner Books

Año de publicación: 2000

Encuadernación: Paperback

Condición del libro:Collectible - Like New

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Acclaimed in England, these wicked and wonderfully entertaining novellas deal with the infinite human capacity for deception and self-deception. The four stories in this remarkably assured work are beautifully shaped and deftly plotted; each is narrated by a richly distinctive voice, and each ends with a genuine surprise. The themes are wide-ranging: the mysteries of identity, the pitfalls of intellectual arrogance, the damage wrought by cleverness, the role of time in human affairs.
SEVERAL DECEPTIONS is a dazzling debut; it gleams with intelligence and wit.


Who is Jane Stevenson, and how does she know all this stuff? With Several Deceptions, this hitherto unheard-from British academic has unleashed a brilliant debut collection of four wicked, chatty novellas. If her astonishing range of milieu is anything to go by, Stevenson seems to be a Tibetan monk who studied European law at a prestigious Dutch university after swinging with David Bailey in '60s London. So firmly does she grasp all these different worlds--and quite a few others--you feel that she must have lived them. Her first novella, perversely titled "The Island of the Day Before Yesterday," tells of an Italian semiotician who, in the 1980s, decides to play a little new-historical prank on the academic community by passing his dumpy secretary off as a former '60s wild child. In Stevenson's world, though, the first laugher is never the last. In the second novella, a really beautiful piece of writing called "Law and Order," twin brothers fall under the spell of a powerful law professor at the University of Leiden. The author writes a vaguely sardonic--but dead-on--pastiche of aristocratic European student life. This Mann-ishness is shot through with scenes of aching loveliness, as when she describes the skaters on the canal: "From a distance, their modern dress did not call attention to itself, and the whole composed itself into a series of Breughelesque pictures, softened by the snow which fell in fat, soft, feathery flakes from the dark sky."

The third novel, "The Colonel and Judy O'Grady," takes us further afield still, to the foothills of the Himalayas, where two exile communities bump up against each other: the "strange and pathetic group, known, collectively, as the Ancient Britons," left behind by her Majesty's retreating Empire and Tibetan monks fleeing religious persecution. Stevenson, bless her, is alive to the absurdities of the situation: "The shaven heads and the Panama hats met periodically in the bazaars, like animals at a watering-hole, with an entire lack of mutual curiosity." The final story, "Crossing the Water," sets in motion a wild Feydeau-ian farce involving three art historians and a manly soldier in a Suffolk country house. Despite her diverting fictional globetrotting, maybe Stevenson had better stay at home in future: this last story is a corker. The farce is hilarious, the denouement heart-wrenching. But what's most wonderful is the knowing tone. The narrator observes of his art-historian friend: "Adam knew, of course; his omniscience was legendary. I sometimes scrounge dinner with some friends in Hampstead who keep a list of things he doesn't know: it is short, and peculiar." Fans of the shifty narrations of Francine Prose, John Lanchester, and Michael Frayn will find much to love in this new voice. --Claire Dederer

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