Thoroughly Grown-Up Female

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Guardian Unlimited Books | By genre | Author of the month: Celia Rees

I missed this while I was away last week, and then realised when reading yesterday's Guardian (June 1st) that there had been no Author of the Month for May, so went to The Guardian website to find it.

Dina Rabinovitch excels at these author profiles, and this one of Celia Rees is one of her best, form its opening description - "It is the very pleasant face that is the dead giveaway. The short, ginger hair, the regular brown eyes, all so much more housewife than desperate." - to this entertainingly observant passage about the sexual content in Rees's latest novel, The Wish House:

It is another cliche of teenage writing these days that stories are liberally dosed with sexual activity - nobody does it well, as it happens, but on the whole it's better executed by the thirtysomething male writers in this field, than by the older, probably too responsible, women. In The Wish House, atmospheric and well-written plot-lines are infiltrated by Cosmo Girl-sounding passages about anxieties over coming too soon.

Sex is notoriously difficult to write well, of course, but even harder, perhaps for those penning sexual scenes for the teens. "I censor myself quite heavily - extremely heavily really," Rees tells me. "I think it's partly [that I leave out] a sort of explicitness about sex, but also the negativity. That sort of vicious cynicism, that's a totally adult view of sex - that if I chose to, I could write about. But I wouldn't write like that for teenagers. You have to be an adult to experience the things that make you like that." Ah, beware, the terrifying frankness of the thoroughly grown-up female.

You are Highly Recommended to read the full piece...

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This page contains a single entry by achuka published on June 2, 2005 10:00 AM.

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