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book cover of Adele

Adele

(1997)
A novel by

 
 
Adele is an involved curio questioning treasured notions of civilization, innocence and the natural. The book opens in medias res with Celia Pippet, a feminist magazine publisher, stealing something from the British Museum. The specimen drawer, however, contains not one mummified--and disgusting--object, but two. Celia, an old friend called Martin and a larger-than-life academic, Tamara, then head off with their booty to the south of France in order to right an old injustice, which they intend to link to the campaign to end clitoridectomies. Sound broad, and unlikely? Mary Flanagan more than mitigates this possibility by making her knowing perpetrators well aware of their outlandish situation: "Oh please, darling. That's so Perils of Pauline," one protests.

Fifty years before, a Parisian gynaecologist had rescued a girl from near death at the hands of vicious villagers. This child, Adele, uniquely agile and undeniably oversexed, becomes an obsession for the doctor, his sister and, it seems, half of brothel-going Paris. Is she retarded, an abomination, or a true innocent? (Judging from some of the sexual contortions she gets up to, this last would seem unlikely, but not entirely in Flanagan's inventive narrative.) Unfortunately, Dr Sylvester, the girl's protector, turns out to be vile, proprietary and far too interested in fashionable notions of eugenics (it is 1936). When Adele transgresses once too often, he performs a clitoridectomy, or so Celia, Martin and Tamara think. Throughout this novel of lascivious twists and turns, Flanagan stays several steps ahead of her crusaders and makes the grotesque moving. Though some readers will be revolted by Adele, more are likely to be surprisingly touched.

    

Used availability for Mary Flanagan's Adele

Hardback Editions

October 1997 : USA Hardback
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Title: Adele: A Novel
Author(s): Mary Flanagan
ISBN: 0-393-04547-1 / 978-0-393-04547-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Paperback Editions

May 1998 : UK Paperback
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Title: Adele
Author(s): Mary Flanagan
ISBN: 0-7475-3505-1 / 978-0-7475-3505-8 (UK edition)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


October 1997 : USA Paperback
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Title: Adele: A Novel
Author(s): Mary Flanagan
ISBN: 0-393-34194-1 / 978-0-393-34194-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


July 1997 : UK Paperback
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Title: Adele
Author(s): Mary Flanagan
ISBN: 0-7475-3332-6 / 978-0-7475-3332-0 (UK edition)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

October 1997 : USA Kindle edition
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Title: Adele: A Novel
Author(s): Mary Flanagan
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Availability: Amazon