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A surreal, gothic coming-of-age story, The magic Toyshop is as unsettling as it is bewitching.
One night Melanie walks through the garden in her mother’s wedding dress. The next morning her world is shattered. Forced to leave her rural home, she is sent to London to live with relatives she has never met: gentle Aunt Margaret, mute since her wedding day; and her brothers, Francie, whose graceful music belies his clumsy nature, and the volatile Finn.
Brooding over all is Uncle Philip, who loves only the puppets he creates in his workshop, which are life-sized – and uncannily life-like.
Angela Carter was born in 1940. She lived in Japan, the United States and Australia. Her first novel, Shadow Dance, was published in 1965. Her next book, The Magic Toyshop, won the John Llewllyn Rhys Prize and the next, Several Perceptions, the Somerset Maugham Award.
She was recongised as one of the most important writers of the 20th Century. A pioneer of British magical realism/magical feminism, her work was described by Salman Rushdie as 'without rival and without equal'.
Carter's radical, inventive novels influenced countless writers, while her dark, sensual short fiction turned traditional fables inside out, giving women the power over their desires and fates.
Angela Carter died in February 1992.