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THE WISH HOUSE by Celia Rees

THE WISH HOUSE

By Celia Rees

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-7636-2951-0
Publisher: Candlewick

An intense foray into first lust and the meanings of art in the summer of 1970 and six years later. Rees prefaces each chapter with a catalogue raisonné entry, an art critic’s description or some other scrap of printed matter that sets the stage. In London’s SoHo, a 21-year-old Richard goes to an invitation-only art gallery exhibiting Clio Dalton’s work. The summer they were 15, Richard had stumbled over her and her family at the Wish House, where he and a buddy used to hang out in the summer when it was abandoned. Now, however, Clio, her mother Lucia and her artist father J.A. Dalton, and an ever-changing coterie of relatives, friends and hangers-on are spending the summer. Richard is closed, thoughtless and utterly confused by these free spirits; he is obsessed with Clio and her body and the lovely, imaginative games they play full of knights and quests. J.A. is also painting the golden, handsome Richard. There are no sympathetic characters here: Clio is manipulative and dangerous; J.A. is tortured and passionate; Richard’s first sight of Lucia is of her lying naked on the lawn. Things end very badly, if predictably, indeed. Compelling for its examination of the darker side of desire both sexual and artistic. (Fiction. YA)