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Rustication

von Charles Palliser

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2701877,793 (3.52)15
"It is winter 1863, and Richard Shenstone, aged seventeen, has been sent down--'rusticated'--from Cambridge under a cloud of suspicion. Addicted to opium and tormented by sexual desire, he finds temporary refuge in a dilapidated old mansion on the southern English coast inhabited by his newly impoverished mother and his sister, Effie. Soon, graphic and threatening letters begin to circulate among his neighbors, and Richard finds himself the leading suspect in a series of crimes and misdemeanors ranging from vivisection to murder"--Dust jacket flap.… (mehr)
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Slow pacing story, not at all exciting so I put it away without even finishing it. ( )
  mslourens | Dec 30, 2020 |
Listened to this as an Audible book. The narration was excellent, the story not so much. It's a grim tale of mystery and betrayal, without much sub-stratum of likeability. The main character is victimized, but also a victimizer. The mise-en-scene is interesting: marshy, dour 19th century England in claustrophobic small-town society. ( )
  oatleyr | Aug 22, 2020 |
Couched in true Victorian fashion as a rediscovered manuscript, Rustication is told in diary format, unveiling the story of Richard Shenstone. In winter 1863 Richard returns home from Cambridge, whence he has been ignominiously expelled (a fact he chooses to keep quiet for now), hoping for an indulgent welcome from his sister and recently widowed mother. Their newly straitened circumstances have brought his mother to a bleak, windswept, isolated house on the edge of a salt-marsh. As if the location wasn’t grim enough, Richard swiftly realises that he isn’t quite as welcome as he thought he’d be. Worse still, he isn’t the only one who’s hiding something, and he’s about to find that no one can be trusted...

For the full review, please see my blog:
https://theidlewoman.net/2019/02/07/rustication-charles-palliser/ ( )
  TheIdleWoman | Feb 10, 2019 |
Richard Shenstone has been sent down in disgrace from Cambridge. He has been rusticated after his friend died, he was found to owe a lot of money and his opium habit became out of control. His father has recently died and his mother and sister have moved from Thurchester to a lonely house on the sea marsh. The house is full of secrets and, as Richard fights his addiction, strange things start to happen in the area - animals are being maimed and threatening letters are being sent. Is Richard the perpetrator or is he being set up to be an innocent dupe?
Palsied is a superb novelist with a real talent for creating Victorian gothic novels and this is no exception. I loved The Quincunx and look forward to the next in line. Each character has secrets and, in Shenstone, Palliser has created a hero whom it is hard to love but who one ends up willing to see through the miasma. The plot is clever and ultimately very sad - no one is innocent. The sense of time and place are fabulous and the little devices Palliser uses, such as the novelist being a character himself as narrator, are spot on. This is an accomplished and impressive novel and joins a cadre of work of the highest level. ( )
  pluckedhighbrow | Jun 26, 2017 |
The story is written as the journal of one Richard Shenstone, seventeen years old and recently expelled, or rusticated, from Cambridge. His father has recently died but Richard doesn't really even know how because his mother and sister won't tell him. They didn't even tell him about the death and he had to find out from a newspaper. But now that he has been sent down from school, he has had to move in with them, into the dilapidated manor that is now his mother's only possession. What happened with his father and why his remaining family is treating him like an imposition is only one of the mysteries in this twisty, opium-and-hormone-tinged tale.

With an incredibly unreliable narrator but also an unreliable everyone else, this is a crazy and sometimes frustrating story. But it comes together in a satisfying way and it's on par with The Unburied, Palliser's other tale set in the fictional town of Thurchester. Neither of these books provoked the visceral reaction that I had to The Quincunx so now I want to go back and read that again to confirm that it really is Palliser's best work. But, even when he's not at his peak, he is still a master of gothic atmosphere and peril.

http://webereading.com/2016/10/ripxi-10-rustication.html ( )
  klpm | Oct 20, 2016 |
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"It is winter 1863, and Richard Shenstone, aged seventeen, has been sent down--'rusticated'--from Cambridge under a cloud of suspicion. Addicted to opium and tormented by sexual desire, he finds temporary refuge in a dilapidated old mansion on the southern English coast inhabited by his newly impoverished mother and his sister, Effie. Soon, graphic and threatening letters begin to circulate among his neighbors, and Richard finds himself the leading suspect in a series of crimes and misdemeanors ranging from vivisection to murder"--Dust jacket flap.

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