- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (24 April 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 014026194X
- ISBN-13: 978-0140261943
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 378,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Witch of Exmoor Paperback – 24 Apr 1997
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About the Author
MARGARET DRABBLE is the author of The Sea Lady, The Seven Sisters, The Peppered Moth, and The Needle's Eye, among other novels.For her contributions to contemporary English literature, she was made a Dame of the British Empire in 2008. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The plot is beautifully controlled and doesn't disappoint. Frieda Haxby's peculiar will - or should I say wills - tests each of her grown-up children to the limit and pushes a couple of her grandchildren 'over the edge' too. The family dynamics are powerful and real. I won't say more as it will spoil it. Look out for that magical passage with brave chaste Emily and the hunted hind towards the end. Lyrical stuff. What does it all mean? I'm not entirely sure, but I loved it.
But we are reading Margaret Drabble, so ye olde English scent of roses soon fades. The people of this novel inhabit the same country that the author outlined in her acclaimed 1980s trilogy: "Not a bad country... just a mean, cold, ugly, divided, tired, clapped out, post-imperial, post-industrial slag-heap covered in polystyrene hamburger cartons".
So though Drabble allows the Palmers - the middle-aged, rational, privileged and selfish family at the centre of this book - to begin with "everything that is pleasant", by the novel's end "the pond" silt up, the lawn is not mown, bindweed embraces the sundial and ground elder ramps around the roots of the wistaria".
The destruction of the Palmers - Daniel and his sisters Rosemary and Gogo - is rooted in their obsession with their mother, Frieda, the eponymous Witch. Frieda Haxby Palmer, writer and capricious free spirit, had, in the opinion of her family, gone mad.
The basis for their concern is that she has moved house: bought a crumbling mansion on the edge of the Exmoor coast, where she intends to write her memoirs and change her will. But Frieda has not been the best of mothers and her children's filial concern is more than a little self-interested.
Thus we have a classic 19th century novel plot of family inheritance given a 20th century outing. But Drabble is no Dickens, and prefers the cerebral to the sentimental.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is one of the most entertaining books I've ever read. Holds a special place in my bookshelf. I think that the bad review hasn't picked up the irony of the storyPublished on 31 Oct. 2013 by Magnus Dyberg
Witch of Exmoor by Margaret Drabble
Massively over written and nothing much happened in the way of plot .No one in our book club enjoyed it. Read more