cover image Lost Time

Lost Time

Catherine Arnold, Catharine Arnold. Viking Books, $16.95 (220pp) ISBN 978-0-670-81608-8

Miles Tattershall tutors at Cambridge. He is writing a book on Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy; he is also 33 and a virgin. His only attachment in life is to his sister Francesca, a concert pianist. But when he acquires a new student, Benjamin Underwood, life begins to change for colorless and careful Miles. Benjamin leads him to bed, stirring up a riot of conflicting responses in Miles, who warily invites the boy to visit his home over the summer vacation. They are alone there, deliriously happy until Benjy's sister Olivia appears. Olivia also seduces Miles, who is then summoned to New York where Francesca, on tour, has had a nervous breakdown. To his surprise, Miles survives, even relishes, Manhattan and returns with Francesca to England with a new confidence, able to confront his suspicions about Benjy and Olivia's relationship and take an active part in shaping his own life. Subtle and graceful, this first novel treats blooming sexuality and the growth of love with a sensitivity untinged by sentiment. (May 5)