The Magic Toyshop
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The Magic Toyshop

By (author) Angela Carter , Introduction by Carmen Callil

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This crazy world whirled around her, men and women dwarfed by toys and puppets, where even the birds are mechanical and the few human figures went masked...She was in the night once again, and the doll was herself.' Melanie walks in the midnight garden, wearing her mother's wedding dress; naked she climbs the apple tree in the black of the moon. Omens of disaster, swiftly following, transport Melanie from rural comfort to London, to the Magic Toyshop. To the red-haired, dancing Finn, the gentle Francie, dumb Aunt Margaret and Uncle Phillip. Francie plays curious night music, Finn kisses fifteen-year-old Melanie in the mysterious ruins of the pleasure gardens. Brooding over all is Uncle Philip: Uncle Philip, with blank eyes the colour of wet newspaper, making puppets the size of men, and clockwork roses. He loves his magic puppets, but hates the love of man for woman, boy for girl, brother for sister...

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  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 126 x 196 x 18mm | 160g
  • 27 Aug 1992
  • Little, Brown Book Group
  • Virago Press Ltd
  • London
  • English
  • 0860681904
  • 9780860681908
  • 12,985

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Author Information

Angela Carter was born in 1940. One of Britain's most original and disturbing writers, she died in 1992.

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Review quote

'The boldest of English women writers' Lorna Sage 'Her writing is pyrotechnic -- fuelled with ideas, packed with images and spangling the night with her starry language' Observer

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Review text

If you remember (if you read it - you will) the alarming Honeybuzzard, Angela Carter is a young writer of some imaginative precision who has developed a form which is very much her own - you might call it a Victorian gothic grotesque. This one, just as sad and sinister and mystifying in its intent, mostly takes place in a filthy flat above a toyshop where Melanie, fifteen, and her younger brother and sister are sent to stay with an aunt and uncle after their parents' death. Their aunt has been dumb ever since her wedding; their uncle is very frightening; and their aunt's two brothers (grown) to whom Melanic refers as the "red" people, are also permanently attached to the household. Part of what is taking place there will be clear when the uncle stages a puppet show; the rest will not even have been suspected. All of this alternates between reality (Miss Carter has a decorator eye for detail) and dark fantasy, but for the common reader her babes in toyland exposed to truly forbidden games remain something of an isolating curiosa. (Kirkus Reviews)

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