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The Beautiful Child [Paperback]

Emma Tennant
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

31 Oct 2012
Part detective story, part analysis of a writer s urge to place real people in his fiction, this is a Christmas fireside tale that examines the horrors of The Turn of the Screw while revealing those of today. We read Henry James s unfinished tale, The Beautiful Child, with its chilling depiction of cruelty and neglect, which he abandoned in 1902. And we learn about the terrifying scandal behind James s inability to proceed with his story of a couple who beseech a fashionable artist to paint the child they never had a scandal involving the alcoholic Mr and Mrs Smith who had served James for many years. Will the chief guest at a house party, an English professor, solve the mystery of the hauntings at James s home, Lamb House, in Rye? This book fills out the unfinished story and ends on a note of terror that would surely have been appreciated by the master himself.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Peter Owen Ltd; First Edition edition (31 Oct 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0720614813
  • ISBN-13: 978-0720614817
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 455,125 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Since the death of Angela Carter, Tennant has been the queen of Gothic. Postmodern excursions into chaos are what she does best; there is nothing quite like being with her in a Tardis. . an ingenious tale. . . only increases the tension in the classic story at its heart --Frances Wilson, Daily Telegraph

This is not simply an updated tale or a tribute to The Master. It is also a strike for modernism, the modernism in James, a rallying call for the challenging and the difficult that lie behind the cosy terror of a ghost story. --Lesley McDowell, Glasgow Herald

Emma Tennant's cunning, moody and bone-chilling new story inspired by "The Turn of the Screw" --Boyd Tonkin, The Independent
--The Independent

Like The Turn Of The Screw, Emma Tennant narrates a tale within a tale, with many surprises and twists; it culminates in a truly chilling denouement that may keep you up at night. --The Lady

A ghost story that is both postmodern and Jamesian --Publishers Weekly

An enjoyable diversion, and Jamesians will find much here to please and flatter them --Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

EMMA TENNANT founded the influential literary magazine Bananas in the late 1970s and is the author of a succession of acclaimed literary novels including thrillers, fantasies and subversive sequels to classic novels by Jane Austen and Emily and Charlotte Brontë.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little too clever? 31 Dec 2012
As a lover of Henry James and especially his supernatural material, I thought I would love this, but I found the structure, which alternates between the present and the past, confusing. It is also not clear whether (the present) narrator is reliable which is a device from which The Turn of the Screw benefits but which I just found annoying in this instance (assuming it was intentional). The plus point - and why I have given this three stars - is that it brought to my attention for the first time the unfinished James story The Beautiful Child, the brilliant first 16 pages of which are reproduced here. Unfortunately by comparison it made the rest of the book seem even less well crafted.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Reading matter 10 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The first time I couldn't finish a book and it was only a small one! I kept waiting for things that were obviously not going to happen
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