Sacred Country

Tremain, Rose

Published by Washington Square Press, 1995
ISBN 10: 0671886096 / ISBN 13: 9780671886097
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Synopsis: "I have a secret to tell you, dear, and this is it: I am not Mary. That is a mistake. I am not a girl. I'm a boy." Mary's fight to become Martin, her claustrophobic small town, and her troubled family make up the core of this remarkable and intimate, emotional yet unsentimental novel. As daring as Virginia Woolf's Orlando, Sacred Country inspires us to reconsider the essence of gender, and proposes new insights in the unraveling of that timeless malady known as the human condition. As Mary's mother, Estelle, observes, "There are no whole truths, just as there is no heart of the onion. There are only the dreams of the individual mind."
Sweeping us through three decades, from the repressive English countryside of the fifties to the swinging London of the sixties to the rhinestone tackiness of seventies America, Rose Tremain unmasks the "sacred country" within us all.

Review: At the age of 6, while standing in a field observing a minute's silence for the death of King George IV, Mary Ward realized she was not a little girl. "That was a mistake," she said to herself. "She was a boy." Where this realization takes Mary is the ostensible subject of Sacred Country, although British writer Rose Tremain (author of The Way I Found Her) so lovingly treats the bleak town of Swaithey, England, where Mary grows up, and the people around her that the novel eddies out to encompass the town and times. With a steady eye, Tremain describes the harsh circumstances of Mary's early life and her disconnection from her body and surroundings. That she can find so much humor and magic in Mary's slow transformation into Martin is remarkable, but the book may be most memorable for its quiet realism and light, exacting prose. Not to be missed. --Regina Marler

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Sacred Country
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication Date: 1995
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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Rose Tremain
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Rose Tremain
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