- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Virago; New Ed edition (31 Dec. 1981)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0860681904
- ISBN-13: 978-0860681908
- Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 1.8 x 19.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 58 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Magic Toyshop (Virago Modern Classics) Paperback – 31 Dec 1981
|New from||Used from|
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The boldest of English women writers (Lorna Sage)
Her writing is pyrotechnic - fuelled with ideas, packed with images and spangling the night sky with her starry language (Observer)
She can glide from ancient to modern, from darkness to luminosity, from depravity to comedy without any hint of strain and without losing the elusive power of the original tales (The Times)
Beneath its contemporary surface, this novel shimmers with blurred echoes-from Lewis Carroll, from 'Giselle' and 'Coppelia,' Harlequin and Punch.... It leaves behind it a flavor, pungent and unsettling (New York Times)
In this, her second novel, (awarded the 1967 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize) Angela Carter's brilliant imagination and starting intensity of style explore and extend the nature and boundaries of love.See all Product description
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
From the very first page it became obvious to me - this is a creative and very well written story, in a beautiful and effective writing style.
The story begins with Melanie (15), Jonathon (12), and Victoria (5), living in the beautiful countryside, under the care of their housekeeper, Mrs Rundle. (She's looking after the children while their parents were away on a lecture tour, in America)
I loved the moment when Melanie (unable to sleep on a hot summer's night) finds herself wearing her mother's wedding-dress. It was too big! - Nevertheless, this excited, beautiful girl felt the urge and desire to go out into the garden, in her bare feet and embrace her sublime feelings, in the enchanting moonlight. What happened next was very humorous and most amusing to read - but an unfortunate incident for young Melanie!
(I'm sorry, but I'm not going to reveal the outcome!)
Unfortunately, tragedy soon strikes for the three children, when they are informed their mummy and daddy have died in an aeroplane accident, in America. The children are taken to London to live with relatives they have never met. Uncle Philip was a toymaker. He lived with his long-suffering wife, Margaret and her two brothers, Francie and Finn.
It soon became apparent to the unfortunate children that this family were poverty stricken. Their lives and circumstances had changed forever.
Uncle Philip was a stern disciplinarian, and he took little notice of the three children. He cared more about his workshop and his wooden creations, than his family. Indeed, he had a brutal and fearsome relationship with Finn. However, Aunt Margaret treated Victoria like her own child, ably assisted by the caring Melanie. Jonathon enjoyed working in the workshop. He was encouraged by Uncle Philip to indulge himself in his passion for making models. In the meantime, Melanie was coming of age and she took a growing interest in the volatile Finn.
What follows is an intense and interesting story. Creative, sensuality, rich in colours, with emotional feelings, and endless impressions. You will enjoy reading about the fluctuating relationship between Melanie and Finn.
The climax of this story occurs over the Christmas period. Uncle Philip discovers a dark secret about his wife, Margaret and needless to say, all hell breaks out! - Finn's deliberately broken and destroyed Philip's beloved puppet-toy-swan, and he suddenly fears for his life! - With the house already on fire, a frenzy occurs, and it all ends in an abrupt and bizarre finale! I found this an entertaining story with interesting characters. It's beautifully written and described in wonderful detail. There's not much humour to be found in this book - but for me - it's all about the compelling circumstances and the survival of these dear, unfortunate children. At times a compelling read.
Fast-forward a day: Melanie, Jonathon and Victoria's parents get tragically killed while on a lecture tour in America; the children are left orphaned & have to move to the home of their uncle Philip, unknown to them. This theme of orphaned children, leaving the Eden of an idyllic, loving childhood for an unknown, unwelcoming home of faraway relatives is a classic in children's fiction (The little Princess came to mind, among other books). Philip is a violent, authoritarian, brutal toymaker, his home in an unnamed area of suburban South London. He lives with his wife, the selectively mute Aunt Margaret and her two brothers, red haired, dirty but weirdly attractive Finn and quiet, brooding Francie.
There is a striking paradox: on the one hand, Philip's unique ability to create magnificent toys. On the other hand, his grotesque personality- one imagines a toymaker to be a gentle person, with an interest in and passion for childhood and its delights, but Philip couldn't be further away from that. His toys, magnificent as they are, reminded me of props in horror movies: odd, life-size puppets or terrifying swans with biting beaks.
This book (like other novels by Angela Carter) has been described as belonging to the magic realist genre. In a way, it's true: the magic toyshop has a foggy, fairy-tale like, horror-movie feel to it, and the reader is often left to wonder about the relationship between fantasy and reality (not least, the fantasy and reality in Melanie's mind). But in another way, the Magic Toyshop can be read, equally viably, as a straightforward realistic story with an intriguing coming-of-age plot.
For me, this was an introduction to Angela Carter's superb, dream-like writing, so it was a treat. She's such a unique writer; it feels I can't really describe how she writes: you have to discover her writing for yourselves and please do. I will be going back for more.
A couple of minor notes: the ending and everything that leads up to it (which many reviewers have commented on) left me underwhelmed as it felt rushed, abrupt, uncertain and `added on'. I suppose Carter leaves it for the reader to decide what really happens at the end. No more on the ending as it would be a spoiler. But despite my doubts, it didn't really spoil the book's pleasure for me. I also agree with those who say that some of the characters- mainly Jonathon, Francie and Victoria- are rather underdeveloped and unclear, compared to Melanie, Finn and Philip.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?