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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sequel which is better than the first volume, 26 Mar 2001
By (Bucharest, Romania) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Natural Curiosity (Paperback)
Being the sequel of The Radiant Way it is a surprising fact that I liked more A Natural Curiosity. Continuing from where The Radiant Way has left us, A Natural Curiosity is a lovely novel, written in the same intelligent style of Margaret Drabble. Three women, nonconformist intellectuals are leading their normal lives with few sparklings of originality, but some exterior things happen and have a great influence in their lives. Alix' serial killer and Liz's sister will prove to be important factors in their decisions from now on. Now and then Alix goes to prison to see Paul, "her serial killer" trying to demonstrate that his insanity, his evilness are not his fault, that there has to be another person which is morally responsible for his crimes. Liz must cope with her sister disappearance after her husband has commited suicide, fearing that she is dead and her body is not yet discovered.
Another dramatic, interesting, intelligent and funny book from Margaret Drabble, A Natural curiosity seems to be a natural sequel to the Radiant Way story, its characters always evolving, always learning, even in their fifties. It may be considered a fair description of modern British Society.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Fun, but Not As Good as Book 1, 30 Jan 2012
Kate Hopkins (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Natural Curiosity (Paperback)
Drabble's sequel to 'The Radiant Way' is enjoyable, but not quite as beautifully written as the first volume in this trilogy. The book follows the lives of Alix, Liz and Esther through the later 1980s, concentrating largely on Alix and her life in Northam, Drabble's invented Northen city (modelled on Sheffield?). We see Alix trying to find out why the murderer from 'The Radiant Way' (conveniently incarcerated at a local prison) killed, while Liz gives talks on lowering the age of consent and finds out more about her own past, her ex-husband Charles sets off on a mission to free a former friend from imprisonment by terrorists, Esther finds that a lesbian affair in Bologna is not quite to her taste after all, and Liz's sister Shirley finally frees herself from marriage and children.

Although I enjoyed reading this book, and will certainly read it again, I found the plot a little bit more like a soap opera than 'The Radiant Way'. Some of the more minor characters - Fanny Kettle the femme fatale, the weak Susie Enderby - seemed slightly silly, and there was quite a bit of gossipy dialogue and party scenes that didn't appear to go anywhere much. Esther's relationship (one of the more interesting bits of the book) was only dealt with in passing. The plot concerning the murderer and why he ended up a psychopath was rather melodramatic, though Drabble writes rather well about Alix's prison visiting. Charles's terrorist-rescue plan never seemed to really go anywhere (are we meant to think that Charles goes briefly mad, and then recovers?), and I felt the whole plot with Shirley, particularly her escapade in France, was somewhat unbelievable. I'd have also liked to know more about Shirley's academic daughter Celia, who never features enough in the books.

Still - Drabble brings life in 1980s Northern England and London very well to life, there's some good dialogue, and the book is definitely good fun. Not as good as 'The Radiant Way' or 'The Gates of Ivory', both of which are truly excellent, but a good, not too heavy read.
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A Natural Curiosity
A Natural Curiosity by Margaret Drabble (Paperback - 1 Nov 1990)
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