By Abby West
Updated March 17, 2020 at 03:10 AM EDT

The English Teacher

B+
type
  • Book
genre

In the first line of Lily King’s beautifully written follow-up to her 1999 debut, The Pleasing Hour, reserved and secretive private-school teacher Vida Avery admits to having had dreams that she’d killed her 15-year-old son, Peter. Every morning that he’s alive brings relief as well as ”the horror of possessing such a fear and the dread of its return the next morning.” Meanwhile, Peter wonders why Vida won’t talk about his absent dad (or say who he is). Then Vida marries a widower with three children, and the stresses of merging the families finally expose the long-suppressed source of Vida’s barely contained rage. King’s graceful prose in The English Teacher turns what could be a predictable ending into an engaging and moving read.

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The English Teacher

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