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No Name (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 10 Jul 2008
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"A relatively unknown masterpiece" (The Times)
"Magdalen, a woman who resists the Victorian idea of the angel in the house and proves to be unscrupulous in her fight for survival against poverty and prejudice, employing disguise and deceit to win back what she believes is rightfully hers" (Observer)
"Dizzyingly readable, with a feminist anti-heroine up to all sorts of deception and skulduggery, cheered along by the reader every step of the way" (Mail on Sunday)
"Two dispossessed sisters fight for their inheritance, the narrative snaking compellingly around Victorian Britain" (Sunday Times)
"Collins explores the iniquity of Victorian morality by damning the future of his resourceful heroine at an early stage with the discovery of her own illegitimacy. Deprived of her inheritance and even her name, Magdalen Vanstone sets out with frightening courage to reestablish her fortune and reputation. The ingenuity and guile she employs to achieve her end makes her a rare figure in Victorian literature and one of Collins' most subversive characters" (The Times) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
'A very good thriller...I enjoyed it immensely' William Trevor, Guardian --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
If you only read one of his books - read this. You won't regret it.
What I found remarkable in this book is that the main character, Magdalen, although defying convention, is entirely bound by it. She cannot do anything on her own as a woman, she needs a man to support, guide and assist her. She is almost absolutely powerless to act on her own behalf in her society and her only real power is her sex appeal, which she uses remorselessly to marry for revenge. However, everything she does, all her plotting, scheming and subterfuge, gets her absolutely nowhere. She does not succeed in getting back the inheritance she and her sister were cheated out of. Nor does Collins allow his characters any of those amazing leaps of luck, logic or circumstance that aid so many other heroes and heroines in such an unlikely way in so many other novels.
I disagree with Virginia Blain who wrote the introduction. I do believe Magdalen is entitled to happiness at the end of the novel. What she does may have been utterly shocking to a Victorian reader, but it all reads as entirely plausible and understandable to a modern reader. She suffers quite enough to satisfy even the most hard hearted of Victorian readers and I was delighted when she achieved happiness almost by accident at the end of the novel.The ending was not a 'cop out', it was perfect.
As other reviewers have said, this novel would make a cracking costume drama - where are you, BBC/ITV?!
A pageturning thriller I have read it three times and it is always exciting . It would be brilliant if adapted for TV faithfully (unlike the shockingly bowdlerised Woman in White we had the other year)
Puts John Grisham to shame - buy it
Wilkie Collins was a friend of Charles Dickens and this novel was published in its time as a serial, much like Dickens' work. Each chapter carries enough plot twists and cliffhangers to keep you interested on the story, as well as colourful characters - scoundrels, greedy rich men, scheming housekeepers - that are memorable and beg the question: why hasn't this been turned into a BBC series yet?!
The geography of the plot is wide-ranging, but kept firmly within Great Britain - from Somerset to York to Suffolk and Essex and to Dumfries, but London remains the centre of the web in which all parts are linked and come together. (I must admit I bought and read this book because of its long scene based on Aldeburgh.) Collins bases each part of the story in one of these places, and ingeniously conveys the results of each scene through the means of first-person narratives (correspondence, journal entries, etc) written by the leading characters. In this way, we obtain a deeper appreciation of the players, their morals, and their motives.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have loved this book from start to finish, I found it to be engaging and highly entertaining. The author is brilliant at describing all the different personalities and situations... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Km N.
I highly recommend Wilkie Collins to anyone looking for a good read from the Victorian era. Hus books are excellentPublished 5 months ago by Janette
The story is interesting, but sometimes gets a little bit boring. None of the characters are likeable, the only memorable person is Capt Wragge who has the most spark in him. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Eva Szoke