The Summer House: A Trilogy

The Summer House A Trilogy A work of astonishing illumination and delight edgy bright and subversive about women s inner lives and experience Francine Prose New York Times Book ReviewA New York Times Notable BookIn The Summer

  • Title: The Summer House: A Trilogy
  • Author: Alice Thomas Ellis
  • ISBN: 9781589880863
  • Page: 499
  • Format: Paperback
  • A work of astonishing illumination and delight edgy, bright and subversive about women s inner lives and experience Francine Prose, New York Times Book ReviewA New York Times Notable BookIn The Summer House trilogy, three very different women, with three very distinct perspectives, narrate three very witty novels concerning one disastrous wedding in the offing.The A work of astonishing illumination and delight edgy, bright and subversive about women s inner lives and experience Francine Prose, New York Times Book ReviewA New York Times Notable BookIn The Summer House trilogy, three very different women, with three very distinct perspectives, narrate three very witty novels concerning one disastrous wedding in the offing.The Clothes in the Wardrobe Nineteen year old Margaret feels trepidation than joy at the prospect of her marriage to forty year old Syl.The Skeleton in the Cupboard Syl s mother, Mrs Monro, doesn t know quite what to make of her son s life, but she knows Margaret should not marry him.The Fly in the Ointment And then there s Lili, the free spirit who is determined that the wedding shall not happen, no matter the consequences Her style is succinct, her humor dry Unputdownable The Spectator The subtlety of James, the comedy of Spark, the penetrating and the deep, unflinching eye of Jane Austen Kirkus Reviews A witty and original writer Times Literary Supplement Inspired maliceAlice Thomas Ellis only bothers with the things that really bother her That s why her novel is short That s why her novel is good Victoria Glendinning in The Times It oozes enjoyable malice Observer The glitter comes from Alice Thomas Ellis s mastery in keeping just the right distance between tones and undertonesThis is a dark comedy Sunday Times

    One thought on “The Summer House: A Trilogy”

    1. I have to think about this book for a while to sort it out. Sort of brilliant, certainly compulsively good reading. Three stories but all surrounding the impending wedding of one girl, each of the so-called "trilogy" told by a different character, and while covering much of the same ground, the different perspective enlightens like layers of an onion, and just as tart. The overlay of the culture and sexism of Egypt, where they had previously lived, is perhaps the most interesting subtext. Some w [...]

    2. I really liked this book. I like the way the author structured it. She tells a story from three different perspectives. The story we follow is the planning of an English wedding. This event is the 'stage' that allows us to learn more about the 'players' involved. The perspectives are that of the bride herself - Margaret; the bride's mother-in-law to be - Mrs. Munro (I can't recall her first name); and Lilli, a school friend of the bride's mother. The wedding is a mistake - Margaret's intended is [...]

    3. This is one of my favorite novels by a writer who is not that well known in The United States. Alice Thomas Ellis is incredibly gifted with creating characters who intrigues and a plot that unfolds by the narration of three very different women. Lili is one of the most magnificent female characters I have come across in fiction in a long time. Half English, half Egyptian, half whore and half saint, her voice and her philosophy of life are remarkable. I don't want to give away too much of the plo [...]

    4. I saw the movie* first but the book closely follows it. The Summer House is a modern Gothic tale made up of all sorts of eccentric characters, with perhaps one of the most bizarrely memorable endings in all literature. Read this over ten years ago. First heard of Ellis through the literary magazine-like catalogue, The Common Reader, which is now defunct, to my very great sorrow.Just thinking about The Summer House makes we want to read the book or watch the movie again. Ellis captures all the id [...]

    5. Blecchhhh! I can't believe I finished reading this book, or that anyone would think it was interesting enough to make a movie out of! I hated it to the very last page.

    6. SPOILERS w/nPoor Monica!I thought this book was really well done, although in some ways the final one wrapped things up way too neatly. I don't know how to explain it, except I did feel I was watching a Hollywood movie. On the other hand, I think back to Margaret's section, which was so wacky and dazed, and I think maybe I was just thrown off by the juxtaposition of her world and Lili and Mrs. Monro's more prosaic ones. Anyway, it was very funny, and I did enjoy the conversations from both sides [...]

    7. This book is a masterpiece. I've just finished the first book and cannot wait to continue it. The writing is superb. The first story captures the voice and the essence of a 19 year old. Full of that overarching angst, painful self analysis, and inner turmoil of youth. There are many paragraphs to savor, reasons for pause and contemplation. "I had drunk too much and woke in the night knowing I was damned. There is nothing to do about being damned. I lay in the darkness but my soul lay, the insect [...]

    8. This is a fascinating book and I can't recommend it enough for thinking women everywhere. It's listed as a "Trilogy," but don't be scared. It's not so much a trilogy, as three short novellas which are set around the same dreaded wedding.The first novella, "The Clothes in the Wardrobe," is absolutely thought-provoking and inspiring (and a bit surprising). Had you attempted to take the book from my hand during this section, I'd have simply hit you over the head with it.The second, "The Skeleton in [...]

    9. Some may wonder why it took so long for me to finish a book I've given five stars. Sometimes life just gets in the way of pure pleasure, made only more so because there are more to be read. I have discovered a buried treasure, Alice Thomas Ellis. Margaret is 19 and engaged to Syl who is 46. Syl, Monica, (Margaret's mother), and Lili met and became friends while living in Egypt for some years when Margaret was a little girl. The Summer House is a trilogy. First narrated by Margaret, second by Mrs [...]

    10. The trilogy aspect of this story is that the same story is told by three different characters- each with her own perspective of the same period of time. Margaret is engaged to be married to man she doesn't love. However, lacking the backbone and gumption to take on the life she dreams of, she moves along in the torrent of her mother's enthusiasm for the wedding. Mrs. Monroe is the soon-to-be mother-in-law. She sees that the marriage is a mistake but on some levels is relieved to see her middle a [...]

    11. This writer reminds me so much of Dorthy Parker without the sarcastic wit. She created three brilliant voices for her three characters in this trilogy - the bride who'd rather become a nun than married, the aging mother of the groom who sees that her son should not marry the bride, and the old college friend of the mother of the bride who is dances through life hoping to make everyone fall in love with her but finds herself wanting to do her first selfless act and stop the wedding. The voices co [...]

    12. Two thirds of this book was great! It reminded me of A Yellow Raft in Blue Water by Michael Dorris. Both books are from the perspective of three different women in succession. However, in Michael Dorris' book, the final third and last narrator tied it all together with missing information that was very compelling. In Summer House, I felt like I knew it all already and the third narrator was also disappointing.

    13. I was not impressed with this book, and had to work to make myself stick with it to the end. It was well written, but the story line did not grab me and I found myself getting bored with the characters. The most interesting person was Syl's elderly mother, and I was disappointed when her section of the book ended. I can't say I would recommend this book to anyone, unless you enjoy reading about people who think and talk about themselves constantly.

    14. This is a hard book for me to rate. It has three long chapters about the same timeframe and events from 3 different people in the story. The first was from the perspective of a damaged dishrag of a young woman that I found boring and tedious. Perhaps that is exactly what the author intended. The next two chapters had me captivated, and I loved the ending. If the first chapter had been better I would have rated the whole book 4 stars. The book was made into a movie that I'd like to see.

    15. Quite a trilogy! This novel, told in three parts, takes you into the heads of three very different women. Which is a good thing because no one would ever guess the subversive thoughts going on inside them. The basic plot gets told in the first narrative, which starts off a bit slow, but the juicy details only come out in the two subsequent tales.

    16. Odd. 3 novellas told from different points of view centering on the upcoming wedding of one of the narrators, the others being the groom's mother and the best friend of the bride's mother. Old-fashioned feel to the whole trilogy, each one revealing more about the strange, fraught situation.

    17. A literary tryptych of sorts, with same story told from three points of view, each one filling in details missing from the others. The first two, told from perspective of Margaret, intended bride, and mum-in-law to be, Mrs Monro, were by far the best. Formally, Magaret's was most intriguing, as Ellis provides glimpses of key events in oblique, sudden fashion, an approach that reflects damaged psyche of M Narrative in Mrs M's section was quite traditional, almost dully so, coming right after M's, [...]

    18. The Summer House: A TrilogyI really enjoyed the structure of this book. It IS a type of trilogy, with the difference being that the SAME story is told three times. Well, not the exact same story, but the basics of the story told from three different perspectives. The main plot is of a young girl being pushed into a marriage with a man old enough to be her father -- the bride herself, the groom's mother, and a family friend all agree the marriage would be disastrous. However, there are other forc [...]

    19. So depressing I wasn't sure if I really wanted to finish this book, but I slogged through just to see if there was anything redeeming in the final chapter. What great reviews but great disapointment. The characters, except for Lili, were quite boring, no life, no depth, no soul. All the characters were bland, one dimensional and depressing. They didn't like anyone else, they used each other, they schemed against one another but in ways that the reader knew they would; they were pitiful. Margaret [...]

    20. I received this book through a giveaway. I was intrigued 3 books within a book, the same story being told from the different points of view of three characters. I slogged through the first section. I didn't relate to 19 year old Margaret at all. I found her boring, and the writing style in this chapter tedious. Because of the reviews, I carried on. The second section was the most enjoyable for me. The story moved along a bit better and I was interested to see what happened. Then I came to the t [...]

    21. **I received the book for free through First Reads.**This wasn't something I expected, but what a pleasant surprise! I was afraid that since the book was to be told by three different people, their voices would not be different at all, but I was mistaken. Each character was unique in his or her own way, and I could not help but enjoy each narrator's perspective on the same events that happened. I especially loved Margaret, perhaps because I am also nineteen years old - I wish that Margaret's st [...]

    22. I won this book through ' giveaway program. The stories of three characters told through different viewpoints that revolve around a single event seemed like an interesting way to tell a story. I tried reading this book two separate times and wasn't able to get into it. The positive reviews make this book seem so wonderful but I never saw that. The writing was stuffy and the story was flat to me. I didn't care about any of the characters and didn't make it to even the end of the first narrative. [...]

    23. Very nicely written, kind of an English "Rashamon" with the same story told from three different perspectives. I think what threw me off, and the reason it's only getting three stars, was the cover blurbs listed the book as a comedy. Not hardly! I could see how someone at the BBC might turn the book *into* a sort of farcical piece for film or TV, but as written the characters are much too complex and troubled for comedy. I definitely recommend the book, just don't go in expecting something funny [...]

    24. I did give up on this book but it's not the book's fault. I've been too busy and reading too late at night. Thus, I think I should try again. This is actually a book of three linked novellas, same events (I think) from different perspectives. An impending wedding--not much welcomed--from view of the bride, the mother-in-law-to-be and a friend of the bride's mother. It's nicely written but not a page turner and that's the problem when it's late at night. For this reason I'm not rating it at all. [...]

    25. I love madcap tales of English society, especially those involving characters on the mid-rung (having just enough money not to need to work, or simply dabbling at an occupation), without truly being upper-crust. Ellis' three novellas do not disappoint. In the first story, I was struck by the ennui of the prospective bride; her lethargy was contagious, and I had to put the book down for several weeks and read more energetic prose. However, I was intrigued by the story, and easily returned to the [...]

    26. I really wanted to like this book, and indeed, some aspects of it were great. The concept, the structure, and some of the character development are superb. Unfortunately, much of it rang untrue for me, and the hints to the dark events that took place in Egypt that are dropped throughout the first section, supposedly to add suspense, aren't enough to keep me interested in her navel-gazing depressive monologue. There's something else that bothers me about this book, something about the commentary [...]

    27. I picked this book off of the shelve because of the beautiful cover. It took awhile to get into. The font and writing style was a bit different. The premise of the book was simple: Girl going to get married. She doesn't want to nor does she love the groom. Mother pushing it. The setting is in the home in England , the few weeks leading up to the wedding. It gets interesting because the same story is told by three different narrators. They are - the bride, the soon- to- be mother-in-law, and craz [...]

    28. This is one story narrated by three different women from their personal perspective. One wedding produces the following storiesThe Clothes in the Wardrobe: Nineteen-year-old Margaret feels more trepidation than joy at the prospect of her marriage to forty-year-old Syl.The Skeleton in the Cupboard: Syl’s mother, Mrs. Monro, doesn’t know quite what to make of her son’s life, but she knows Margaret should not marry him.The Fly in the Ointment: And then there’s Lili, the free spirit who is d [...]

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