The Great Lover

Jill Dawson, Author . Harper Perennial $13.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-192436-1

Dawson (Trick of Light ) adroitly weaves together fact and fiction in this artful account of British poet Rupert Brooke's mental breakdown in the years before WWI. Boyishly handsome, Brooke arrives in Grantchester, England, and quickly begins a series of tangled romances. He woos a reserved schoolgirl, loses his virginity to a male friend, and flirts shamelessly with numerous women. Observing these ill-advised exploits is a no-nonsense housemaid, Nell Golightly, who, recently orphaned, thinks of herself as immune to love. Then one fateful evening she comes across Brooke naked, on his way for a night swim. Their subsequent relationship is complicated by class and Brooke's bisexuality. For Nell, the relationship poignantly marks the boundary between childhood and adulthood, while for Brooke, Nell provides a counterpoint to his other sexually confusing relationships. Finally, insecure about his poetry, grappling with his brother's death, and shattered by his failed affairs, Brooke begins to come undone, eventually finding solace with a Tahitian woman. Burrowing deep inside Brooke's mind, Nell is a capable narrator, and the result is a believable, sensitive portrayal of a “great lover's” search for love. (June)

Reviewed on: 04/19/2010
Release date: 06/01/2010
Compact Disc - 2 pages - 978-0-7531-4202-8
Hardcover - 310 pages - 978-0-340-93565-1
Hardcover - 310 pages - 978-0-340-97909-9
Analog Audio Cassette - 9 pages - 978-0-7531-4199-1
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-06-200359-1
Compact Disc - 11 pages - 978-0-7531-4200-4
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-340-93566-8
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