Frank Moorhouse GRAND DAYS: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780679433620

GRAND DAYS: A Novel

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9780679433620: GRAND DAYS: A Novel

The story of one young Australian woman's moral and sexual coming of age follows Edith Campbell Berry as she journeys to Geneva after World War I to take a post in the newly created League of Nations

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From Kirkus Reviews:

A theoretically neat idea for a sweeping series--more are planned--from Australian writer Moorhouse (Forty-Seventeen, 1989, etc.): an idealistic young woman succeeds as an international diplomat at the old League of Nations, a good measure of kinky sex thrown in to relieve the more pressing issues of devising stationery holders and resolving equal tenders for new furniture. Edith Campbell Berry, fearless Australian daughter of ``Rationalist'' parents who brought her up with strong notions of public service, has come to work for world peace at the newly created League of Nations in Geneva. Her three heroes are Briand, Benes, and Lord Cecil, and, as Moorhouse describes Edith's advances through the bureaucracy, real but long-forgotten historical personages like Dame Rachel Crowdy, Head of Social Questions, or Sir Eric Drummond, the first Secretary-General of the organization, play their part as mentors and supporters. Tiresomely earnest and naive (she doesn't seem aware of what's actually happening in Europe in the 20's and 30's), Edith writes lists and lives by precepts like ``Ways of Going''--how to travel; the ``Way of all Doors''--being conversationally adept; and the ``Way of Companionable Directness''--knowing when to be frank. But the same Edith who knows about tenders and meetings also enjoys a freewheeling sex-life. ``A Weimar girl,'' she calls herself as she indulges close friend British Major Ambrose Westwood. Ambrose, also a colleague, likes to borrow Edith's clothes and introduces her to the Molly Club, a local transvestite joint. She has other sexual adventures until suddenly deciding--she's a ``Rationalist'' after all--to marry a British journalist, though she'll continue working at the League. Having to do more with the importance of being earnest than with understanding the treacherous ways of the world and the human heart. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Moorhouse is a major figure in his native Australia but little known here. The quality of this novel (apparently the first in what is to be a series about the early days of the League of Nations), however, and the reviews it has received in Australia and England, suggest he will not be an unknown much longer. For Grand Days , after a rather arch beginning, turns into a vastly beguiling character study set against a fascinating and little-known background. Edith Campbell Berry, the adventurous daughter of a freethinking Australian family who comes to the fledgling League of Nations in Geneva in the early 1920s as a young official, is one of the most winning women in contemporary fiction. Determined to live a moral life and do good works, but endlessly experimental in matters of the heart and the flesh, she becomes involved with an older man--a British officer at the League who leads an androgynous transvestite life that at once attracts and faintly repels her. When she discovers he is acting as a double agent for the British Foreign Office she betrays him and he falls into a rapid decline. Meanwhile, a dashing but hard-nosed reporter has been paying her cynical court while her career advances. Throughout it all, Edith worries endlessly--about the League and the issues it addresses and fails to address, about birth control on both a world and personal level, and even about the health of her bowels. Moorhouse never patronizes Edith and, by his close examination of her every thought and emotion, he brings a reader close to the soul of a delightfully unpredictable, usually admirable person. There is color galore--a risque interlude in Paris, a Geneva riot, political infighting, friendships made and broken, moments of real pathos and terror. The book would make an extraordinarily glamorous movie, and most actresses would brawl to play sexy, smart, plucky Edith.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Moorhouse, Frank
Published by Pantheon (1994)
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Moorhouse, Frank
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ISBN 10: 0679433627 ISBN 13: 9780679433620
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