A Saint from Texas
From legendary writer Edmund White, a bold and sweeping new novel that traces the extraordinary fates of twin sisters, one destined for Parisian nobility and the other for Catholic sainthood
Yvette and Yvonne Crawford are twin sisters, born on a humble patch of East Texas prairie but bound for far grander fates. Just as an untold fortune of oil lies beneath their daddy’s land, both girls harbour their own secrets and dreams -ones that will carry them far from Texas and from each other. As the decades unfold, Yvonne will ascend the highest ranks of Parisian society as Yvette gives herself to a lifetime of worship and service in the streets of Jerico, Colombia. And yet, even as they remake themselves in their radically different lives, the twins find that the bonds of family and the past are unbreakable.
Spanning the 1950s to the recent past, Edmund White’s marvellous novel serves up an immensely pleasurable epic of two Texas women as their lives traverse varied worlds: the swaggering opulence of the Dallas nouveau riche, the airless pretention of the Paris gratin and the strict piety of a Colombian convent.
At once in thrall to the shimmering artifice of glamour yet also incisive about the tragedy of human existence, A Saint from Texas is a worldy wise delight * Observer * Steeped in both scandal and erudition ... It's a story of self-discovery: sinful, erotic, compellingly furtive, in which the sisters live out negative images of each other's lives, a world apart but joined at the soul ... There's a gusto to White's prose ... Demystifying everything from lesbian love to communion wafers, it's a gourmand's feast of earthly delights -- Tim Robey * Telegraph * A richly symbolic tale of twin sisters ... A Saint from Texas makes explicit what was once only hinted at, namely how potent an influence religion has been on the imagination of the quintessential gay writer of our time ... Yvette's faith is evoked so convincingly because White has all along been writing with his own sense of life's grace * Guardian * The pagan and the saintly contend in this audacious new novel by Edmund White whose sympathy for his Texas-born characters radiates like a kind of blessing through their myriad adventures - sacred as well as secular, and always sensuously alive -- Joyce Carol Oates At once funny and moving, this is a ribald novel of the miraculous - a comic but searing exploration of sin and envy -- John Irving Like a waltz that goes out of control, this is a wild, dizzying, joyful romp. A Saint from Texas is a daring and exuberant novel in the spirit of Tristram Shandy, but it is also a brilliantly observed story about how we find ourselves by losing ourselves, about family bonds and how the harm done to us can warp us into something new. I loved it -- Ann Beattie An epic novel * Telegraph * Edmund White's narrative brilliance ... give[s] us the divinely well-told tale of identical twins who set out to answer the question: Can Texas be transcended? ... White's miracle is how he manages to deliver an epic that covers five decades, several precisely observed cultures and a host of indelible characters in a little under 300 pages ... White's tale is exactly like a stroll through Le Jardin des Tuileries - if the garden had been planted with land mines instead of tulips ... The rocket fuel that propels these abrupt plot twists past the slightest suspicion of implausibility is the author's trademark narrative virtuosity and high-octane erudition * New York Times Book Review * A literary firecracker ... A Saint From Texas does a wonderful job exploring how siblings relate to each other and how they rely on each other to navigate the world. It's a dramatic departure from White's previous novels, but it's just as elegantly crafted as its predecessors. White writes with a deep empathy for his characters in prose that's both playful and self-assured; the result is another brilliant accomplishment from one of the country's most indispensable writers * Texas Observer * A mesmerising sensual history of identical twin sisters who leave their booming Texas oil town for Paris and a Colombian convent ... Bombshell revelations abound when the narrative reaches its boiling point, which White handles with aplomb. Equally tender and salacious, White's deeply satisfying character study demonstrates his profound abilities * Publishers Weekly * One of the three or four most virtuosic living writers of sentences in the English language * Dave Eggers * Edmund White has three voices. First there is the storyteller: relaxed, conversational, an anecdotalist, an inspired flaneur. Then there is the poet: on every page there lies in wait a metaphor of startling precision, an image that holds and reattracts the eye. And then there is the laic philosopher, who observes human life from the highest attitudes, held aloft by vast infusions of erudition and experience * Martin Amis *
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