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Albertine

by Jacqueline Rose

Reading this creates in the reader the same elusive, enigmatic, dreamlike qualities of the young woman portrayed in the book. Innuendoes and hints lead up to revelations or denouements, only to slide away, subtly, emulating the standards of required modesty of that period.

Extract

I will never forget the first day I brought Albertine home. We were both still in uniform, so there was nothing by way of social clues to be seen. My mother had to go through all the protocols of greeting ... but from the way she scrutinised her, all the while pretending not to, you would think something dreadful would crawl out between them if she stopped. She seemed to be convinced that if she looked hard enough she would be the one to uncover the secret of Albertine's past, read off her social legacy and pop her safely inside her true class beyond reach of any further dispute.

Parallels

Friendly Young Ladies by Mary Renault
A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu by Marcel Proust
 

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