Cover image for A pure clear light : a novel
A pure clear light : a novel
St. John, Madeleine.
Personal Author:
First Carroll and Graf edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Carroll & Graf, 2000.

Physical Description:
233 pages ; 22 cm
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At once poignant and humorous, this deliciously devised novel lights on the marriage of Flora and Simon Beaufort just at the moment it goes haplessly awry -- the moment that Simon succumbs to the temptation of his cool, blond accountant and Flora heeds the cry of her reawakened faith. Ultimately, though, neither of them can escape the revelation that lies beyond excuses and candor, at the heart of a phenomenon called love.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

With splendidly lucid prose and surprising insight, English writer St. John distills things to their essence. Here, in the story of an adulterous affair, she takes on nothing less than the issues of love and faith. Londoner Simon Beaufort, at his first sight of Gillian Selkirk, is weak in the knees despite his happy marriage to the lovely and intrinsically good Flora, with whom he has three beautiful and clever children. So while his family is on holiday in France, Simon starts to walk a fine line that becomes increasingly finer. Meanwhile, Flora, a Catholic, senses something wrong and seeks answers--to the dismay of nonbeliever Simon--in the High Anglican Church. The discovery of the affair is apparent from the start; what is left to ponder is the consequences. This novel, St. John's third to be published in this country but first written, has interlocking situations with the other two, the Booker short-listed The Essence of the Thing (1998) and The Stairway to Paradise (1999). All three are remarkable for pithy portrayals of characters and emotion. --Michele Leber

Publisher's Weekly Review

"I haven't got any imagination, as you perfectly well know," says coolly blonde, 30ish accountant Gillian Selkirk to her married lover, Simon Beaufort. She may be the only one who doesn't in this deceptively calm and studiously ironic study of love sacred and profane. After Simon's wife, Flora, lapsed Catholic and mother of three, leaves their pleasant London home and takes the kids on holiday in France, TV director Simon, to his great surprise, falls in love with Gillian. The siren's song of "pure unadulterated sex" proves irresistible to agnostic Simon, though he is determined not to upset the applecart with Flora. Meanwhile, he sets about casting his next film, looking for an actress as brilliant as the "plain" English ones he knows, but with a more voluptuous bodyÄa French or Italian, he thinks. As Simon is snared by the temptations of film and flesh, Flora, returned from France but still feeling his absence, is drawn to the local Anglican church. By the time Flora's friend Lydia catches Simon and Gillian together at a Bayswater brasserie, the end of their secret affair is almost an anticlimax. What prevails is Flora's austere yet human yearning for God's love, and her determination that the marital relationship must go on in a life she now considers "transitory." Exploring the tension between worldly and religious love as did Graham Greene in The Power and the Glory and Andr‚ Gide in Strait Is the Gate, Booker Prize-nominee St. John does produce "a pure clear light" that springs from Flora's spiritual crisis. Her prose is swift and beautifully spare; the dialogue is sharp and witty; yet the tone of the narrative is chilly, like white winter light, more of a hedge against emotional suicide than a life-affirming renewal of love. In a curious way, Flora's need to shape her religious imagination to escape Simon's worldly imagination comes full circle to resemble sexy and candid Gillian, who has no imagination at all. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

The latest novel from St. John (Stairway to Paradise) explores an oh-so-British marriage at its crucial turning point. Simon and Flora Beaufort have three perfect children and a comfortable, happy life in London. When Flora takes the children for a month-long vacation in France, Simon stays home to work on his latest film project. At a friend!s dinner party, Simon meets a cool blonde accountant named Gillian Selkirk and is completely drawn to her. As they begin a torrid affair, Flora discovers a new love of her own, in a sense: she is drawn back into her deep religious beliefs. Simon and Flora stray from one another, and things get complicated when Flora!s friend Lydia spots Simon and Gillian getting intimate at a local brasserie. This novel is a quick and witty read, with sharply drawn details. Recommended for public libraries."Beth Gibbs, formerly with P.L. of Charlotte & Mecklenburg Cty., NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

ForewordBernard Ramanantsoa
Prologue: Business Schools As Usual?Mette Morsing and Alfons Sauquet Rovira
Part 1 Historical and Geographical Perspectives on Business School Legitimacy
Business EducationRakesh Khurana and Daniel Penrice
The American Trajectory
Creating a Business School Model Adapted to Local RealityMaria Tereza Leme Fleury and Thomaz Wood Jr
a Latin American Perspective
The Changing Role of Business Schools as Key Social Agents in AsiaBernard Yeung and Kulwant Singh
Institutional Evolution and New Trends in Russian Management EducationValery S. Katkalo
The Legitimacy and Future of Business Schools in TurkeyBaris Tan
European Business Schools and GlobalizationLluis Puges
CSR, Business Schools and the Asia Pacific ContextJuliet Roper
Part 2 Towards a New Legitimacy For Business Schools in Global Society
Business Schools in SocietyAlan Irwin and Dorte Salskov-Iversen and Mette Morsing
The Distinctiveness of Diversity
Design Science as a Reference Point for Management ResearchMichael Barzelay and Saul Estrin
The National Role of Contemporary Business Schools in Response to the Financial CrisisThomas M. Begley and Patrick T. Gibbons
Business SchoolsFrom Career Training Centers towards Enablers of CSR and Thomas Bieger
a New Vision for Teaching at Business Schools
The Future of Business School ResearchMuel Kaptein and George S. Yip
The Need for Dual Research Methodologies
Business Schools' Corporate Social ResponsibilityChristoph Badelt and Barbara Sporn
Practice What You Preach
The Role of Higher Education Institutions in the Fields of Economic and Social SciencesGuido Tabellini
Has It Been Changed by the Economic Downturn?
Business Schools in Relation to the Organizational and Ethical Challenges of Systemic TransformationAdam Budnikowski
a Polish Example
The New RigorJudith Samuelson
Beyond the Right Answer
Part 3 Business Schools' Role in Shaping and Transforming Ethical Business Conduct
Responsible Business EducationCarlos Losada and Janette Martel and Josep M. Lozano
Not a Question of Curriculum but a Raison d'Ãètre for Business Schools
The Business School of the 21st CenturyValerie Swaen and Philippe de Woot and Didier de Callatay
Educating Citizens to Address the New World Challenges
The Need for Good Old Principles in Financial Management EducationEero Kasanen and Robert Grosse
Prme and Four Theses on the Future of Management EducationManuel Escudero
a Plea to Business SchoolsRobert Strand
Tear Down Your Walls
Corporate Responsibility and the Business Schools' Response to the Credit CrisisNigel Roome and David Bevan and Gilbert Lenssen
EpilogueAlfons Sauquet Rovira and Mette Morsing and Marc Vilanova