And that doesn't mean you have to go subject yourself to Rushdie or Dostoevsky or some other similarly obtuse and overwhelming work. Coming out of a YA tear is a great time to pick up an old favorite author who you've meant to revisit, but you've just been so busy with The Hunger Games.
So to get out of my YA rut, I turned to Angela Carter. Angela Carter was a writer of poetry, short stories, magical realist and feminist fiction and children's books, who unfortunately passed away quite young, at the age of only 51. She was active as a novelist from 1966 until her death in 1992. I'd only read one of Carter's works before, and it was Nights at the Circus. I absolutely LOVED it, so I figured that Carter would be good for another shot. From Carter's substantial repertoire, I selected The Magic Toyshop.
|Splendid creepy reading.|
This is not a story for the faint of heart. Many awful things befall the family, right up to the very end of the story (which I really can't give away, but it is a heck of an ending). But interlaced in the terrible events are moments of tenderness between Melanie, Margaret and Finn which show the reader a new definition of what makes a family, and how people react when placed in dire circumstances. Carter has such magnificent control of the English language, her prose is much closer to poetry. Lyrical phrasing and distinct imagery combine to give the reader a very authentic experience. And in a book which moves at quite a slow pace, Carter's masterful writing drags the reader in, and makes this book almost impossible to put down.
Fans of Margaret Atwood would almost certainly enjoy The Magic Toyshop. I would also recommend this work highly to fans of magical realism in the vein of Banana Yoshimoto, or to anyone who enjoys a lyrical, engaging work of fiction.