Shelfari edited the description of The Case of Lena S. Saturday, October 6, 2012.
David Bergen’s highly original third novel follows the life, loves, and coming-of-age of 16-year-old Mason Crowe and the women he encounters — his tennis partner and first “love,” Seeta Chahal, a girl from a traditional East Indian family; and Ms. Abendschade, a teacher who opens Mason’s eyes to sensuality and the art of storytelling. Then there is Mr. Ferry, an erudite and gentle blind man with a voyeuristic streak, to whom Mason reads. All is not well in Mason Crowe’s family. His father, a salesman, is away too much, and Mason’s mother, a beautiful woman beginning to age but who is nevertheless sure of her own sexuality, takes on a lover. At the centre of the novel is Lena Schellendal, a girl who battles with the restrictions of her religious father, and with manic depression. Wild, smart, impulsive, sexually provocative, vulnerable and sad, Lena becomes haunting for Mason in ways he does not always understand. In spare, precise prose, infused with intellectual playfulness and a deadpan humour, Bergen brilliantly and movingly captures the innocence, the wisdom, and the yearnings of youth, as well as the intricacies, the impossibilities, and the irresistible allure of relationships. From the Hardcover edition.