The Virgins

By Pamela Erens
(Tin House Books, Paperback, 9781935639626, 281pp.)

Publication Date: August 2013

List Price: $15.95*
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Description
It's 1979, and Aviva Rossner and Seung Jung are notorious at Auburn Academy. They re an unlikely pair at an elite East Coast boarding school (she's Jewish; he's Korean American) and hardly shy when it comes to their sexuality. Aviva is a formerly bookish girl looking for liberation from an unhappy childhood; Seung is an enthusiastic dabbler in drugs and a covert rebel against his demanding immigrant parents. In the minds of their titillated classmatesparticularly that of Bruce Bennett-Jonesthe couple lives in a realm of pure, indulgent pleasure. But, as is often the case, their fabled relationship is more complicated than it seems: despite their lust and urgency, their virginity remains intact, and as they struggle to understand each other, the relationship spirals into disaster.
"The Virgins" is the story of Aviva and Seung's descent into confusion and shame, as re-imagined in richly detailed episodes by their classmate Bruce, a once-embittered voyeur turned repentant narrator. With unflinching honesty and breathtaking prose, Pamela Erens brings a fresh voice to the tradition of the great boarding school novel.
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