Hummingbirds chronicles a year in the life of the Carmine-Casey School for Girls, a prep school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Part Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and part Virgin Suicides, the novel offers a dual perspective on the intimate, tempestuous and frequently incestuous private school community. The plot centers on two parallel rivalries. On one hand there is the popular student Dixie Doyle, who wears ironic pigtails and heads a group of preternaturally coquettish girls, and her adversary, the self destructively smart girl Liz Warren, who writes plays based on the Oresteia and rolls her eyes at Dixie from the back of the classroom. On the other hand there is the adored Binhammer, who has for years been the only male teacher in the English department, and his rival, Hughes, the charismatic new faculty member who threatens to usurp Binhammer’s position at the school and in the hearts of the girls. As the book unfolds, these two worlds intersect—the adult world becoming irresistibly seductive to the girls, and the dewy haze of teenage girlhood becoming a trap into which the flailing teachers fall. The web holding these characters together is an intricate one, full of envy, sadism, and juvenile eroticism.
IndieBound Indie Next Notable, November 2009
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