A teacher’s affair with his underage student jolts a group of teenage girls into a new awareness of their own power. Their nascent desires surprise even themselves as they find the practice room where they rehearse with their saxophone teacher is the safe place where they can test out their abilities to attract and manipulate. It seems their every act is a performance, every platform a stage.

But when the local drama school turns the story into their year-end show, the real world and the world of the theater are forced to meet. With the dates of the performances — the musicians’ and the acting students’ — approaching, the dramas, real and staged, begin to resemble each other, until they merge in a climax worthy of both life and art.

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Reader Reviews



"This is a mesmerizing, labyrinthine, intricately patterned and astonishingly original novel. It's really something else entirely. I suppose if you need a point of reference, you might say it's as if Miss Jean Brodie got lost in Barth's funhouse. But really it has no comparison. With The Rehearsal you get the style, the sophistication, the boundless possibility and the narrative pleasures that make up any good novel, but you get a bonus, too: a glimpse into the future of the novel itself."—Joshua Ferris
"A wonderful debut by a truly exciting new writer--The Rehearsal is compulsively good and while at the same time being immensely readable it also continually calls into question the relationship between so-called 'reality' and fiction, and the very nature of truth itself."—Kate Atkinson
"Dazzling....This astonishing debut novel is a cause for surprise and celebration: smart, playful and self-possessed, it has the glitter and mystery of the true literary original....wherever the book falls open it's near-impossible to put down."—Guardian
"Uncommonly witty and bold....[The Rehearsal has] a real knack for narrative and a cast of painfully familiar teenage characters who are all desperate to be as confident, cool, charismatic and funny as possible. These are qualities that the extraordinary Eleanor Catton has in spades."—The Times of London
"Startlingly original."—Time Out of London
"The Rehearsal is a significant debut novel from an exciting young writer. Eleanor Catton is a new talent who has arrived fully formed, with an accomplished, confident and mature voice. This is a startling novel, striking and strange and brave."—New Zealand Listener
"This is a daring book, full of velvety pleasures but never afraid to show its claws. Eleanor Catton is crazily talented and insightful--and best of all, she makes language seem new."—Emily Perkins, author of Not Her Real Name and Other Stories
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