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Academics and Wuthering Heights fans are descending on the Bronte family homestead for an Emily Bronte conference. Among their ranks are a single, over-sixty, self-professed expert on the Brontes; an overworked wife, mother, and university lecturer; a widower sustained by nocturnal visits from Emily's ghost; and a young waitress suddenly drawn into the curios orbit of academia. Each looks forward to a weekend in the company of kindred spirits, but none is prepared for the unexpected conflicts and unpredictable alliances that result.
Four Dreamers and Emily is the United States debut of an acclaimed British novelist -- a sharply observed, hilarious, and bittersweet send-up of academic pretentiousness and literary obsession.
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In a charming, comic little novel on the love that literature can inspire, a motley group of Bront‰ enthusiasts gather for an academic conference--and end up transforming their chaste devotion into a more physical passion. British novelist and critic Davies, herself a Bront‰ scholar, pokes reverent fun at all the fuss ladled on the three dead sisters. Her briskly plotted work, the author's first US publication, follows the exploits of four pilgrims to the shrine of the Bront‰ homestead: Eileen James, a 60ish virgin who attends all the conferences to proclaim vehemently the significance of Passion; Timothy, an infirm widower who occasionally sees Emily's ghost; Marianne Pendlebury, the professor who arranged the conference--and has a Bront‰ pen-pal in Timothy and a grudge against the always disruptive Eileen; and finally young, hulking Sharon, a waitress invited by Marianne, who mistakenly thinks Sharon has hidden literary interests. The conference, peopled by the usual assortment of theorists (the semicolon enthusiasts, the uterine-feminists, the deconstructionists) does not go well for Marianne. She knows that she's on the verge of being sacked by her university (she's too subdued in lectures), and her three toddlers have unexpectedly shown up--in tow of their self-centered father, who deposits them on her lap. Eileen is disillusioned (she happens upon two deconstructionists having sex on the moors, and the animalism of the act shatters her well-tended ideas about passion), but when she's accidently locked in the Bront‰ house at night with Timothy, she discovers an appealing companionship. Bored Sharon also finds love on the moors, in the form of local boy Mark, who's entranced by her learned associations. The ending, which picks up the lives of the pilgrims a year later, offers a sweet homage to the transformative powers of literature, in all its subtle forms. An airy read, light and rewarding; particularly enjoyable to those bewitched by the academic world of letters. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Library Journal:
Davies, known in the United States primarily for her literary criticism (e.g., Emily Bronte: Heretic, Women's Pr., 1994), is also a popular novelist in her native England. This delightful tale of a life-changing Emily Bronte conference is her first to be published in the United States. Marianne Pendlebury organizes the conference in a last-ditch effort to save her academic career. Rumor has it that she's about to be dismissed from her university post as part of the "dead wood"?not surprising when her duties as wife of a demanding, self-centered husband and mother of three children under six leave her little time to pursue scholarship. Along with "gentlemanly academics of the old type," feminist deconstructionists, and an international assortment of graduate students, the conference attracts Timothy, an elderly widower with whom Marianne has had a literary correspondence; Eileen, a spinster who has deluded herself into a relationship with the Brontes; and Sharon, an avid reader and waitress at the tea shop Marianne frequents. Davies provides a quirky view of academia as these characters interact, pretensions are shed, and Marianne's career goes up in flames. A nice afternoon read, whether or not one is a fan of Emily.?Debbie Bogenschutz, Cincinnati Technical Coll.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description St. Martin's Press, 1997. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0312168446