Taming the Beast

( 17 )

Overview

At the tender age of fourteen, Sarah Clark is seduced by her thirty-eight-year-old English teacher, Daniel Carr, and becomes entangled in an illegal, erotic, passionate, and dangerous affair&#8212a vicious meeting of minds and bodies that ends badly. Devastated by grief and longing, Sarah embarks upon a series of meaningless self-abasing sexual encounters, hoping to reclaim the intensity of that first relationship. Then, seven years later, Carr unexpectedly returns and Sarah is drawn again into a destructive ...

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Taming the Beast

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Overview

At the tender age of fourteen, Sarah Clark is seduced by her thirty-eight-year-old English teacher, Daniel Carr, and becomes entangled in an illegal, erotic, passionate, and dangerous affair&#8212a vicious meeting of minds and bodies that ends badly. Devastated by grief and longing, Sarah embarks upon a series of meaningless self-abasing sexual encounters, hoping to reclaim the intensity of that first relationship. Then, seven years later, Carr unexpectedly returns and Sarah is drawn again into a destructive coupling. Now that she is no longer an innocent young girl, is she strong enough to finally tame the beast within her?

A modern Lolita, Taming the Beast is an emotionally unflinching and alluring tale that introduces a powerful new writer.

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Editorial Reviews

The Age (Australia)
“A thought-provoking and often searing first novel.”
Esquire (UK)
“Emily Maguire [is] the new bad girl of erotic fiction...”
Sydney Morning Herald
“Emily Maguire embodies the great romantic myth of the writer who emerges from nowhere, fully formed.”
Publishers Weekly
Shortly after 14-year-old Sarah Clark meets Daniel Carr, her 38-year-old English teacher, in Australian Maguire's debut, boundaries are eliminated and academics take a back seat to a different kind of education. Their increasingly sadistic trysts end when Daniel takes a job in Brisbane, leaving emotionally hobbled and sexually insatiable Sarah to search for Daniel's replacement. And search she does, bedding, by her estimate, hundreds of men before trying her hand at a relationship with childhood friend Jamie. But when Daniel reappears years later, Sarah is as helpless as a child and encourages him to indulge in all of his violent fantasies. Sections of the book pulse with sexual energy, though Maguire turns ethereally cerebral during moments of animal carnality ("In the expression of physicality, in the tearing of flesh and the intermingling of fluids, there is honesty"). Though some readers may have trouble reading passages involving sexual violence, Maguire keeps the prose crackling and the dialogue lively ("[Y]ou look like the six week old corpse of a crack addict who died from syphilis") from the first page to the last. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A twisted love affair forever changes the path of a bright young woman. Sarah Clark is a precocious child. She comes from an Australian family where academic excellence is the norm and failure is unacceptable. When a dynamic teacher named Daniel Carr seduces 14-year-old Sarah, she is thrilled to enter his perverse world and gain his attention. Daniel becomes a father figure to Sarah-an older man to please and adore. Her sexual awakening is powerful, and she becomes addicted to Daniel's touch. Maguire does her best to convince the reader that Sarah and Daniel have a relationship. But these initial sexual encounters are nothing short of molestation-their relationship is far from erotic. Daniel leaves Sarah's school district, mysteriously, and the damage to Sarah is irreparable. This once-promising young scholar is ruined; she feels abandoned and attempts to self-destruct by way of unprotected sex, binge-drinking and drug use. As a college student, Sarah's existence involves waitressing at a seedy steak house and luring strangers to her filthy apartment. Despite her numerous trysts, she remains empty-constantly longing for the violence and degradation she received at the hands of her teacher. For Sarah, love and pain are inexorably linked. When Daniel and Sarah meet again, it seems they deserve to beat each other senseless, for they are despicable characters. Maguire aims high in her debut novel, attempting to craft a tragic romance in the spirit of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre (she tosses in allusions to the classics). But while her writing manages to convey urgency, she doesn't deliver penetrating personalities. Often powerful and compelling, but weakened by an overabundance of darknessand violence.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061122163
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/19/2006
  • Series: P.S. Series
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,001,058
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Emily Maguire divides her time among teaching English, writing nonfiction pieces, and working on her next novel. She is the recipient of a 2003 Australian Society of Authors Mentorship, and she lives in Sydney.

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Read an Excerpt

Taming the Beast

A Novel
By Emily Maguire

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Emily Maguire
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0061122165

Chapter One

Sarah Clark felt like a freak for two and a half years. It started when she received a leather-bound copy of Othello for her twelfth birthday and ended when her English teacher showed her exactly what was meant by the beast with two backs.

In between, she read every one of Shakespeare's plays and then moved on to his sonnets, before discovering Marlowe, Donne, Pope and Marvell. With peers who read nothing but TV Week and parents who were inclined towards the Financial Review, Sarah was forced to conceal her literary leanings. She hid poetry anthologies under her bed and read Emma by torchlight, the way boys her age read Playboy. For the first two years of high school, she came top of her English class without opening a single school book. It wasn't necessary since the curriculum consisted of a few familiar texts, plus comic strips and newspaper clippings.

Then on the first day of the third year of high school, Sarah met Mr Carr. He was unlike any teacher she had ever encountered. For the entire forty minutes of his first class he spoke about why Yeats was relevant to Australian teenagers in the year 1995. In the second class, Sarah put up her hand to make a comment on somethinghe had said about Hamlet. When he called on her to speak, she started and could not stop. She stayed in his classroom all through lunch, and when she re-emerged into the sunlight and the condescending stares of the schoolyard cliques, she was utterly changed.

Mr Carr began an active campaign to keep Sarah's love of learning alive. To prevent boredom, he brought her books of his own from home and gave her a note that allowed her to access the senior section of the library. Every novel and play and poem was discussed in depth. She had never received a better compliment than when he told her that he knew she would love a particular piece because it was his favourite too.

While Mr Carr was shaping Sarah's mind, her body was changing of its own accord. Small, painful breasts appeared overnight, as did ridiculously placed hair. She kept waking up in the middle of the night to find her blankets tossed to the floor and her hands tangled up in her pyjamas. Whenever the School Captain, a lanky blond boy named Alex, walked past, Sarah had an inexplicable urge to press her thighs together. She started to daydream about how to become more beautiful.

One day in June, Mr Carr asked Sarah's advice on how to make Shakespeare more exciting for the class. The sonnets studied so far had failed to ignite a spark of enthusiasm in anyone except Sarah, and he thought she could help identify where he was going wrong. The problem, as Mr Carr saw it, was that many of the sonnets dealt with themes that couldn't be understood by your average fourteen year old kid. Sarah told him that the average fourteen year old understood plenty about love and lust and longing; it was the language that put them off. After all, she said, every second song on the radio dealt with the same themes as old William, albeit with more grunting and less wit.

He laughed a throaty laugh and reached across the space that separated them. His hot, damp hand settled on her bare knee. Sarah noticed, all at once, that his forehead was shiny and the blinds were lowered and the door was closed and her heart was racing. She didn't move or speak. Breathing was all she could manage.

Mr Carr leant forward in his chair and moved his hand to Sarah's shoulder, then let it slide until it rested on one of her never before touched, brand new breasts. She felt like she might cry, but she also felt a sick kind of excitement. She sat very still with her arms at her sides and watched as he stroked and kneaded her breasts through the cheap polyester. His gold wedding band caught the light, and she wanted to reach out and touch it, but didn't. He was saying her name over and over, so that it no longer sounded like her name at all, but like one those mantras that Buddhists used to go into a trance.

Sarahohsarahohsarahohsarhohsarah.

One of his hands slipped inside her shirt, under her bra, and she was shocked by the thrill she got when his fingers caught hold of her left nipple and squeezed. Ohsarah. He moved forward, right to the edge of the chair, his head lowered to her chest, his shins pressed hard against hers. She had to bite down on her lip to stop herself from laughing. How strange that a smart and accomplished man could be reduced to such an undignified state just by touching her breasts!

Mr Carr stopped chanting her name, and the room was silent except for his rasping breath and the rustle of her shirt as he unbuttoned it. Then Sarah felt his tongue sweep across her nipple; she let out a surprised gasp. This excited Mr Carr even more, and his head all but disappeared into her half open shirt as he fell to his knees in front of her. A giggle escaped her, which Mr Carr obviously interpreted as encouragement. OhSarahohSarahohohohohsobeautifulSarahoh.

He pushed her legs open and knelt between them, his head still buried in her chest but his hands pushing up her scratchy pleated skirt. Sarah tried to remember which underpants she had put on that morning. She hoped it was not the pair with little ducks. If Mr Carr saw little ducks on her underwear he would think she was a child, and then he would stop. But he couldn't see her underwear anyway, because his mouth was still latched onto her nipple as if he was a hungry baby and she was a mother with heavy, milk filled breasts, instead of a girl with hardly enough to fill a training bra.

Continues...


Excerpted from Taming the Beast by Emily Maguire Copyright © 2006 by Emily Maguire. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

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(7)

4 Star

(5)

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2007

    Fantastic...simply fantastic

    This book will make you blush and check to see if anyone is watching. Then you will devour it and wish for more. Fabulously written with addictive characters that make you pass this novel around to all your friends. A must read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2011

    A book I could not put down.

    I read this book for the first time when I was 17. I am now 20 and since then have read about 4 times. Yes, this book may offend some people. It does not display values that most parents would want in a book their children were reading. It was a book my mother would not approve of, but that's probably why most of us who loved it couldn't put it down. It is well written, and the author's "Aussie lingo" makes the book all the more interesting. If you are easily offended, don't bother. If you are looking for a book you simply won't want to put down, this is it.

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  • Posted February 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Poorly Written

    Although there was quite a bit of "shock value" in this novel, the story line was dull. The story picked up speed here and there, then all of a sudden it would become stagnant and dull. The vocabulary was flat and dull. Throughout the story I thought, "Where is this going?", and wished there was more substance to the book. The summary made it seem like an erotic novel; however, it was simply filled with adult language - not content. The back of the book is very misleading. I wouldn't suggest this book to anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2011

    Makes you feel something

    This book made me so angry, that I threw it across the room in the hope that it'll be soon forgotten. Despicable fictional characters are tolerable if there's redemption at some point. This was like one of those horrible B movies where you spend the entire time screaming at the main character to do what's logical, and they never do. Though I do think this would be better in a group setting, where readers can bounce their thoughts and feelings off one another. I'm not sure I'd read anything else from this author because I found the characters so unlikeable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2009

    Great

    this is not the kind of books i usually read, but i liked it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2008

    Inappropriate

    I have not read this book. I was browsing for books for my grandchild. I find the content of this story to be very disturbing. A fourteen year old having an 'erotic' relationship with an adult is, I believe, illegal. What kind of subject matter is this for young girls???? I am disappointed to see that Barnes & Noble would sell it to children.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2008

    SICK TWISTED & SAD

    I am not one to usually hate any book, i almost always find something positive in it, but i have to say that changed when i read this novel. I can't even put into words how it made me feel i mean i can't feel happy about 'Sarah' not giving into anything or anyone because all the things that have happened to her are TERRIBLE, it makes me unthinkably sad what kind of life she has had. This was my first novel by Emily Maguire and i think its my last! I just don't understand how this novel fell under the catagory of 'Erotic Fiction'...i didn't find anything erotic in it at all!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2007

    A Stunning Novel

    Sarah's narration is brutal, raw, and shocking in Taming the Beast. The event which LITERALLY scarred her for life served as a catalyst to a series of unfathomable desires and events which take you on an emotional rollar-coaster ride. Highly recommended if you're in the mood for a repulsive and yet intreguing drama. However, the ending may have needed something to make it even better.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2006

    A book that changes you

    Some books are capable of being read and not remembered, some are capable of leaving a lasting memory, but Emily's Maguire's 'Taming The Beast' goes beyond being remembered and has the ability to change you as a person. The characters Maguire have created are more than characters, they are more than people you could meet on the street, they become extensions of you with every turn of the page, opening up a part of your life you weren't aware you had. Sarah Clark, the main character is beyond complex. She is impossible to understand, although you¿ll try throughout the whole story, each twist and turn takes you deeper away from ever really knowing. Her complexity stems from an affair with a teacher, Mr. Carr, when she is only fourteen, who uses her, abuses her, and then leaves her, while she is still yearning for more. Her parents are distant and unknowing, and uncaring. You could take this all into account, and say ¿This is why she is messed up. This is why Sarah Clark is who she is.¿ Yet, it¿s more than that. After her teacher leaves her to be with his wife and children, she is so shaken up that she becomes an all-driven sexual machine, destroying and doing everything in her path. Nothing has a chance when she has her sights set on you. For years, her best friend Jamie harbors secret loving and longing feelings for her, and Sarah only wants him in return when he¿s on his way to getting married and having a family. Sarah then does the same thing to Jamie that her Mr. Carr did to her when she was fourteen, without the violence that her Mr. Carr unleashed upon her, however. Jamie falls irrevocably in love with her, and she begins to fall for him as well, but is scared by feelings she is convinced she¿s only ever had for her Mr. Carr. She runs away to escape the feelings she has no idea how to deal with, and runs into her destiny. Mr. Carr has left his wife in search of Sarah, who he has not been able to go a day without thinking of. Sarah is thrust into a violent relationship with Mr. Carr, a relationship that neither feels they are ever close enough physically and the only way they can be slightly close enough is to rip and tear apart skin, so that every part of them is connected in some way, flesh and blood, limb and limb. As a year passes, Sarah has lost her friends, her sense of who she is, and her health. She leaves Mr. Carr and returns to Jamie who once was her protection. Sarah is in need of comfort and Jamie is unable to do that, there relationship is too altered, and he no longer knows what to do around her. After their encounter, neither is the same, and are unable to continue on the path that they are on. Worlds are torn apart and Sarah returns, in the end, to Mr. Carr, with the knowledge and the power that she can leave him if she wanted to and live without him, but with the serenity of knowing being with him is the life she has chosen. This book is more than a typical of how a person¿s life can be messed up by people who are supposed to protect them: a teacher, parents, best friends. It is more than an obsessive love story, or a love triangle. It is more than about a teacher who uses a young girl and falls in love with her, but all the while has a pedophile undertone. This story, like Sarah, cannot be defined. It wraps you up in the web of itself and you are lost, praying to be found at the end. However, in the end, you are not found, but ripped apart and left shaken. I was left shaking.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    well written character study

    In Australia, her family encourages doing excellent in school so fourteen year old Sarah Clark works hard to meet their expectations. When she meets charismatic thirty-eight years old English teacher meets Daniel Carr, no one thought twice of his spending time with her because of the respect the family has for educators. However, Daniel provides the teen with hands on lessons that would devastate her family if they knew he teaches her S&M sex before leaving for a new position in Brisbane. --- Sarah is depressed by her mentor¿s departure and her schoolwork reflects this gloominess as she no longer is interested in learning though a few years later she attends college. Instead the nymph has no time to brood or study as she experiments with unsafe encounters with hundreds of men seeking a Daniel clone to quench her seemingly endless appetite for violent sessions. As the years pass with her needs never fully satiated she turns to her childhood friend Jamie until Daniel reappears seeking a tryst. --- TAMING THE BEAST is not an easy character study to read though it is well written and very deep as Daniel sexually assaults the willing underage teen even if Sarah encourages him. Neither of the characters is likable as he abuses his position of trust as a sexual predator preying on the young while she has become a sex addict whose needs override everything else. Emily Maguire provides a powerful violent Aussie Lolita. --- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2011

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    Posted March 30, 2009

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    Posted November 13, 2008

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    Posted July 18, 2010

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    Posted November 25, 2008

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    Posted May 27, 2009

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