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Hummingbirds: Book summary and reviews of Hummingbirds by Joshua Gaylord

Hummingbirds

by Joshua Gaylord

Hummingbirds by Joshua Gaylord X
Hummingbirds by Joshua Gaylord
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2009
    352 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Spend a year at the Carmine-Casey School for Girls, an elite prep school on Manhattan's Upper East Side: the year when the intimate private school community becomes tempestuous and dangerously incestuous as the rivalries and secrets of teachers and students intersect and eventually collide.

In the world of students, popular and coquettish Dixie Doyle, with her ironic pigtails, battles to wrest attention away from the smart and disdainful Liz Warren, who spends her time writing and directing plays based on the Oresteia. In the world of teachers, the adored Leo Binhammer struggles to share his territory with Ted Hughes, the charming new English teacher who threatens to usurp Binhammer's status as the department's only male teacher and owner of the girls' hearts. When a secret is revealed between them, Binhammer grows increasingly fascinated by the man he has determined is out to get him.

As seasons change and tensions mount, the girls long for entry into the adult world, toying with their premature powers of flirtation. Meanwhile, the deceptive innocence of the adolescent world—complete with plaid skirts and scented highlighters—becomes a trap into which the flailing teachers fall. By the end of the year the line between maturity and youth begins to blur, and the question on the final exam is: Who are the adults and who are the children?

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A very grown-up novel about adolescence and the folly of adults, by an impressive new voice in American fiction." - Kirkus Reviews

"While the narration takes some getting used to...Gaylord’s tale of overeducated men and the teenage students who exhibit the finesse and understanding their teachers lack hits all the right notes." - Publishers Weekly

"Gaylord has delivered a story that's ripe with acute and wry observations on men and women, competition, sexuality, and secrets...Highly recommended." - Library Journal

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Author Information

Joshua Gaylord

Joshua Gaylord lives in New York with his wife, the Edgar-award-winning novelist Megan Abbott. For the past nine years, he has taught high school English at an Upper East Side prep school (a modern orthodox co-educational Yeshiva). Since 2002, he has also taught literature and cultural studies courses as an adjunct professor at the New School.

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