Author(s): Pamela Erens
The events of 1979-80 reverberate around the campus of Auburn Academy and linger many years later in the mind of narrator Bruce Bennett-Jones. Aviva Rossner and Seung Jung are an unlikely couple at the elite East Coast boarding school and are not shy in flaunting their newly discovered sexuality. Their blossoming relationship is watched with envy and fascination by Bruce and other classmates, who believe their liaison to be one of pure, unadulterated passion and pleasure. But nothing is what it seems, and as Aviva and Seung struggle to understand themselves and each other, things begin to fall apart. Their ultimate descent into shame and betrayal has disastrous consequences beyond their own lives.
A seductive prep school novel
It joins the ranks of the great boarding school novels while somehow evoking the twisted, obsessive narrations of Nabokov's Pale Fire or Wharton's Ethan From Rebecca Makkai, author of The Borrower Flawlessly executed and irrefutably true John Irving, The New York Times Book Review Erens ... has done a star turn with the prep school tale, giving it meaning for those who might not usually care about that world Chicago Tribune A beautifully written story Vulture Sinking into Ms. Erens's prose feels like slipping underwater, in a lake, in the dark: at once gradual and startling; the world outside the novel seems to give way entirely to the world within Observer It's rare to find a book that summons the delicate emotional state of teenagers ... without being precious or cynical, but Pamela Erens' The Virgins beautifully manages that feat Los Angeles Times What happens between Seung and Aviva, this pair of star-crossed lovers, is truly horrible; the ending shouldn't be given away by a reviewer John Irving [A] subtle, accomplished second novel Book Forum Now that James Salter is in his twilight years, his considerable fan base will be ecstatic to encounter his heiress apparent, Pamela Erens Antonya Nelson, author of Bound Young love, unconsummated, presents its own dangers in Pamela Erens' excellent new novel Chicago Reader
Pamela Erens' debut novel, The Understory, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in a wide variety of literary, cultural, and mainstream publications, including Tin House, Byliner, New England Review, the Literary Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, the Millions, The New York Times, and O: The Oprah Magazine.