At a boarding school, a sex scandal is about to break. Even more shocking than the sexual acts themselves is the fact that they were caught on videotape. A Pandora's box of revelations, the tape triggers a chorus of voices--those of the men, women, teenagers, and parents involved in the scandal--that details the ways in which lives can be derailed or destroyed in one foolish moment.
Writing with a pace and intensity surpassing even her own greatest work, Anita Shreve delivers in TESTIMONY a gripping emotional drama with the impact of a thriller. No one more compellingly explores the dark impulses that sway the lives of seeming innocents, the needs and fears that drive ordinary men and women into intolerable dilemmas, and the ways in which our best intentions can lead to our worst transgressions.
Shreve s novels (Body Surfing; The Weight of Water) benefit from propulsive plots, and her mixed latest, with its timely theme of debauchery among children of privilege, does not lack in this regard. The first paragraph foreshadows a tragedy in which three marriages are destroyed, the lives of three students at a private school in Vermont are ruined, and death claims an innocent victim. The precipitating event is a sex tape involving three members of the boys basketball team and a freshman girl. Beginning with an account of the debacle by the Avery School s then headmaster, and segueing to the voices of the participants in the orgy, plus their parents and others touched by the scandal, the narrative explores the widening consequences of a single event. Shreve s character delineation is astute, and the novel s moral questions ranging from the boys behavior to the headmaster s breach of legal ethics to the guilt of those involved in the death are salient if heavy-handed, while the female characters are wicked in the way women have always been stereotypically portrayed. The novel is clever, but the revolving cast of narrators often feels predictable and forced, keeping the novel on the near side of credible.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The book was good, but very hard to grasp. If you are a high level thinker this book is for you, but if your just looking for a pleasureful book...Nah, I wouldn't suggest this one.
You need to get by the first chapter and the sex scene
It is integral t o the story, but so unlike anything Shreeve has written befire. I almost didn"t go any further, but later was very glad I picked it up again. A very sad book about how one stupid moment can change many lives. After awhle I couldn't put it down until i finished it.
A fAscinating and beautifully written moral dilemma.