The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter

Posted August 16, 2015 by Ely in Reviews / 0 Comments

The Magic Toyshop Book Cover The Magic Toyshop
Angela Carter
Magical Realism

'This crazy world whirled around her, men and women dwarfed by toys and puppets, where even the birds are mechanical and the few human figures went masked...She was in the night once again, and the doll was herself.'

Melanie walks in the midnight garden, wearing her mother's wedding dress; naked she climbs the apple tree in the black of the moon. Omens of disaster, swiftly following, transport Melanie from rural comfort to London, to the Magic Toyshop. To the red-haired, dancing Finn, the gentle Francie, dumb Aunt Margaret and Uncle Phillip. Francie plays curious night music, Finn kisses fifteen-year-old Melanie in the mysterious ruins of the pleasure gardens. Brooding over all is Uncle Philip: Uncle Philip, with blank eyes the colour of wet newspaper, making puppets the size of men, and clockwork roses. He loves his magic puppets, but hates the love of man for woman, boy for girl, brother for sister.

This is a really difficult book to review. I typed out the words ‘Review coming soon’ on Goodreads and then thought to myself ‘Well, what am I going to say?’
Recently, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of reading everything that Angela Carter ever wrote. I’d already read her most popular collection of short stories, The Bloody Chamber, which I studied earlier this year. I also own her collection of fairytales but that one is massive, so this seemed like the better one to read next.
I really enjoyed it. There was a sort of Series of Unfortunate Events feel to it—three orphans sent to live with this strange man. That’s where the similarities end, by the way, but I’m sure a lot of you are aware of my love for that series so I just had to include it.
All in all, this was a nice short read for a rainy day.

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