“I have a secret to tell you, dear, and this is it: I am not Mary. That is a mistake. I am not a girl. I’m a boy.” Mary’s fight to become Martin, her claustrophobic small town, and her troubled family make up the core of this remarkable and intimate, emotional yet unsentimental novel. As daring as Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, Sacred Country inspires us to reconsider the essence of gender, and proposes new insights in the unraveling of that timeless malady known as the human condition. As Mary’s mother, Estelle, observes, “There are no whole truths, just as there is no heart of the onion. There are only the dreams of the individual mind.”
Sweeping us through three decades, from the repressive English countryside of the fifties to the swinging London of the sixties to the rhinestone tackiness of seventies America, Rose Tremain unmasks the “sacred country” within us all.