The Magic Toyshop

The Magic Toyshop One night Melanie walks through the garden in her mother s wedding dress The next morning her world is shattered Forced to leave the comfortable home of her childhood she is sent to London to live wi
  • Title: The Magic Toyshop
  • Author: Angela Carter
  • ISBN: 9780140256406
  • Page: 163
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Magic Toyshop
    One night Melanie walks through the garden in her mother s wedding dress The next morning her world is shattered Forced to leave the comfortable home of her childhood, she is sent to London to live with relatives she never met Aunt Margaret, beautiful and speechless, and her brothers, Francie, whose graceful music belies his clumsy nature, and the volatile Finn, who kisOne night Melanie walks through the garden in her mother s wedding dress The next morning her world is shattered Forced to leave the comfortable home of her childhood, she is sent to London to live with relatives she never met Aunt Margaret, beautiful and speechless, and her brothers, Francie, whose graceful music belies his clumsy nature, and the volatile Finn, who kisses Melanie in the ruins of the pleasure garden And brooding Uncle Philip loves only the life sized wooden puppets he creates in his toyshops The classic gothic novel established Angela Carter as one of our most imaginative writers and augurs the themes of her later creative works Beneath its contemporary surface, this novel shimmers with blurred echoes from Lewis Carroll, from Giselle and Coppelia, Harlequin and Punch It leave behind it a flavor, pungent and unsettling The New York Times Book Review
    The Magic Toyshop By Angela Carter,
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    About " Angela Carter "

  • Angela Carter

    Born Angela Olive Stalker in Eastbourne, in 1940, Carter was evacuated as a child to live in Yorkshire with her maternal grandmother As a teenager she battled anorexia She began work as a journalist on the Croydon Advertiser, following in the footsteps of her father Carter attended the University of Bristol where she studied English literature.She married twice, first in 1960 to Paul Carter They divorced after twelve years In 1969 Angela Carter used the proceeds of her Somerset Maugham Award to leave her husband and relocate for two years to Tokyo, Japan, where she claims in Nothing Sacred 1982 that she learnt what it is to be a woman and became radicalised She wrote about her experiences there in articles for New Society and a collection of short stories, Fireworks Nine Profane Pieces 1974 , and evidence of her experiences in Japan can also be seen in The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman 1972 She was there at the same time as Roland Barthes, who published his experiences in Empire of Signs 1970.She then explored the United States, Asia, and Europe, helped by her fluency in French and German She spent much of the late 1970s and 1980s as a writer in residence at universities, including the University of Sheffield, Brown University, the University of Adelaide, and the University of East Anglia In 1977 Carter married Mark Pearce, with whom she had one son.As well as being a prolific writer of fiction, Carter contributed many articles to The Guardian, The Independent and New Statesman, collected in Shaking a Leg She adapted a number of her short stories for radio and wrote two original radio dramas on Richard Dadd and Ronald Firbank Two of her fictions have been adapted for the silver screen The Company of Wolves 1984 and The Magic Toyshop 1987 She was actively involved in both film adaptations, her screenplays are published in the collected dramatic writings, The Curious Room, together with her radio scripts, a libretto for an opera of Virginia Wolf s Orlando, an unproduced screenplay entitled The Christchurch Murders based on the same true story as Peter Jackson s Heavenly Creatures and other works These neglected works, as well as her controversial television documentary, The Holy Family Album, are discussed in Charlotte Crofts book, Anagrams of Desire 2003.At the time of her death, Carter was embarking on a sequel to Charlotte Bront s Jane Eyre based on the later life of Jane s stepdaughter, Ad le Varens However, only a synopsis survives.Her novel Nights at the Circus won the 1984 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for literature.Angela Carter died aged 51 in 1992 at her home in London after developing lung cancer Her obituary published in The Observer said, She was the opposite of parochial Nothing, for her, was outside the pale she wanted to know about everything and everyone, and every place and every word She relished life and language hugely, and reveled in the diverse.


  • Normally, I walk into bookstores with a list I didn t, this time I felt adventurous The bookstore was enormous there were rows and rows of shelves, winding so far it seemed endless Shaking with delight at the sight of this, I had to ask a saleswoman what time they closed, as I was certain I would be there all day And I had to set an alarm on my watch an hour before closing time so I d not be rudely jerked out of my book browsing stupor by the announcements and rush to the counter with an armful [...]

  • The Magic Toyshop has so many exquisitely written layers, even though I only just closed its final page, I could easily pick it up and read it from beginning to end all over again and glean something new from its darkly spiralling plot.This tale is wonderfully typical of Angela Carter and her taboo breaking narratives Sex, incest, feminism and a sinister magical realism are all weirdly intertwined Fantastic imagery and symbolism are constant, transforming the story of the orphaned Melanie into a [...]

  • Uncle Philips, all clock work, might rush out and savage her This possibility seemed real and awful All her laughter was snuffed out She was hallucinated she felt herself not herself, wrenched from her own personality, watching this whole fantasy from another place and, in this staged fantasy, anything was possible Even that the swan, the mocked up swan, might assume reality itself and rape this girl in a blizzard of white feathers The swan towered over the black haired girl who was Melanie and [...]

  • Angela Carter has thrust me into an uncomfortable world of orphans, incest, anger, mad uncles , suggestions of paedophilia and Strange though it sounds this book published in 1967 handled it all in a sensitive way.The story begins with Melanie a 15year old girl exploring her body and her sexuality, then after the door closes fast behind her, when she goes for a midnight walk in her mother s wedding dress, ends up climbing naked up the apple tree to get back into her room Circumstances lead to M [...]

  • What an odd little novel Melanie, 15, is orphaned along with her two younger siblings , and they are all sent to live with her uncle, his wife, and the wife s two brothers Uncle Phillip is basically an ogre He makes toys for a living, and every now and then puts on a private puppet show for his family These puppets are his pride and joy, and he subjects his family to bizzare, short shows with these elaborately made creatures He is a brute violent, rude, and altogether domineering His wife, the m [...]

  • I was lucky to discover Angela Carter s writing at a very young age, not long after I had started to read grown up books.I spotted a book named The Magic Toyshop on a paperback carousel in the library What was such a thing doing on the shelves for grown ups And why did it have a dark green cover, that looked like a classic, but not the sort of classic I had ever seen before I picked the book up, I began to read, and what I read was extraordinary It was like nothing I had read before and it did t [...]

  • Having just finished Carter s The Bloody Chamber, her retellings of traditional fairy tales, I thought I d read something else by her in order to have a basis for comparison.The Magic Toyshop is, firstly, much horrific and disturbing than the cute cover of this edition would lead one to expect It s full of over the top elements of gothic grotesquerie I can almost imagine the author, while writing, gleefully exclaiming, oh yes I know what will make this Even Worse but it s very well written, and [...]

  • The Magic Toyshop is my favourite Angela Carter novel I think maybe I even prefer it to the short stories Which is funny because I don t think it s regarded that highly in Carters oeuvre She herself seems a little disparaging of it in interviews, almost as if it s juvenilia Before I d read the book, I saw the David Wheatley film It blew my mind I read the novel shortly afterwards and imagined everything in it characters and setting as they were in the film Even now, re reading the book, so many [...]

  • The simple fairy tale literature of orphans and misfortune and lots of overlap there surface of this story seems to conceal a high level of thematic deftness and intricacy, seemingly built around a series of simulacra And where will it all go Later somewhere slightly else, maybe, but the complex underlyings are pretty fascinating Identity and self, as external from the self, in objects and importantly, in others But constructed with a deftness and overriding narative coherency that these matter [...]

  • This book is overwhelming and haunting I just finished, but I can tell it will stick with me for quite some time This story is just filled with so much poetic beauty Melanie wearing white before the death of her parents, Melanie returning to a white outfit before the climax of the book, Uncle Phillip s obsession with puppets while simultaneously acting as a puppet master for everyone under his roof, Jonathan s sense of never quite feeling solid reflected in his sparse appearances and hasty exit [...]

  • For some reason this book couldn t keep my attention very well and actually made me groggy Apart from that this is foremost a story about a trio of siblings whose parents die and have to move in with an estranged uncle and his strange family Nothing in this book is beautiful or happy There s domestic violence and poverty and general uncleanliness Not sure why this is titled The Magic Toyshop as nothing is magical and the toy shop is where much of the trouble happens It had a weird abrupt ending [...]

  • I thought this was an enjoyable read and that the writing was quite good I found certain plot points could have been expanded on though, and that maybe the novel was a bit too short and that the story ended without tying any of the loose ends Overall it was a fun read, but an imperfect novel in my opinion I look forward to reading of Angela Carter s work in the future, however

  • I found myself enjoying this even than Nights at the Circus, which is saying something There s just something about Angela Carter s writing that I really love she has such a forthright, yet lyrical style It s one of those strange books where nothing much happens We follow Melanie, a 15 year old who is set upon discovering her sexuality After her parents die, she moves to her Uncle Phillip s house, a poverty stricken topshop Here, she meets her Uncle s kindly wife, Aunt Margaret, plus her two br [...]

  • I ve been uncomfortably prone isn t that the name of a Pink Floyd classic to literature related dreaming of late no joke I even had a David Foster Wallace related dream the other night, which was simply too good to be true, and another one related to Amis Time s Arrow which I remembered when subsequently catching a glimpse of an old Coldplay video by the way the clich about other people s dreams being the most boring subject material in the world is way overused and over rated, as just today I t [...]

  • i think the first time i read the magic toyshop, i was too young, younger than melanie and easily overwhelmed by the cloying, claustrophobic fear of a too small world governed by a vast, fleshy puppet master then i found it compelling, but deeply confusing and vaguely repulsive i still do.but now, coming back to it with a mind full of thoughts about houses and freud s uncanny as the unhomely, and fascinated by the tidal flow towards and away from a warm domesticity that both comforts and threate [...]

  • Let me say up front that I m an apologist for genre fiction, especially science fiction and fantasy I get excited when a writer merges genre seamlessly with literature, because I don t think it happens very often.Angela Carter s dark fantasy achieves this feat with the coming of age of the rich, spoiled twelve year old Melanie, who is orphaned early in the novel and sent to live with her cruel, working class uncle Despite the cliched setup, her story is startling and evocative from there, even i [...]

  • are you tired of ordinary people are you tired of ambiguity in characters are you tired of sensible plots do you yearn for exaggerated morality of adult fairy tales well this is the book for you i do not mean this in a bad way, as i did enjoy this but, truly, for invention of modernish magical realist parallels for gothic stories than for great art that is, for the artist in one rather than the philosopher the cover image of my copy puppet characters manipulated by evil master basically tells y [...]

  • semi spoilerish as to meaning, without revealing any plot points A very strange, powerful book which left me somewhat off balance but increasingly impressed Angela Carter was a sensuous but gritty writer, and her imagery much like an uncensored fairy tale oddly melds the beautiful and the unpleasant, the enchanting and the mundane, with touches of grim humor The title, the premise, and even the hints of dark fairytale undercurrents are brilliantly misleading because it never turns into magical r [...]

  • A kind of faded gothic beauty permeates The Magic Toyshop , with many of the characters being grotesque caricatures of fairy tale characters the ogre like Uncle Phillip, his kind hearted and long suffering wife, Margaret, the virginal Melanie and the story of orphaned children is the most atypical fairy tale trope, with Carter coalescing he fairy tale theme with the whimsical fantasies of Lewis Caroll and the lachrymose atmosphere of gothic literature The fantastical nature of the story begins t [...]

  • Melanie are cincisprezece ani, v rsta la care nu e nici copil , nici adolescent De ea i de fra ii ei, Jonathon i Victoria, are grij doamna Rundle, bona lor, mpreun cu pisica ei P rin ii lor muncesc n str in tate pentru ca ace tia s se bucure de toate luxurile vremii respective nu e specificat n carte, ns b nuiesc c e vorba de anii 60 de la s punuri parfumate i ampon p n la simpla h rtie igienic ntr o noapte n care nu poate dormi, Melanie intr n camera p rin ilor ei i mbrac rochia de mireas a mam [...]

  • This started slow for me but by the end I really liked it It follows a fourteen year old girl called Melanie who has to live with her Uncle in London where he runs a toy shop Here her life is changed by the people she encounters and her new lifestyle It s very connected to ancient myths and reads like a fairytale Anyone a fan of her other stories would enjoy this.

  • This book was very dark and sad It was a little wordy at first and I thought about abandoning it a few times I m glad I stuck with it But, it was not a feel good, happily ever after tale Did I miss the magic What in the hell was magic about an abusive, sick fuck who made demented puppets

  • I used to have this fallacy that I like Angela Carter only with my brain I used to think that she was a writer whose works provided the perfect pretext for any enthusiastic English major student to talk about symbols, metaphors, intertextuality and all kinds of gender stuff I really liked both of her books I read so far this one, which I first read during my university years as compulsory reading, and The Bloody Chamber, which I read a couple of years later, just because I wanted to read it , bu [...]

  • I loved this book the atmosphere and the claustrophobia the strange puppets, the fairytale magic realist qualities It reminded me very much of the Cement Garden I only felt the ending was a tad brusque, but otherwise I think it is by far the most accessible of Angela Carter s books It is totally immersive and alive despite the strangeness of the story And as writer, the attention to the concrete detail of the world, and the visual imagery is very inspiring.

  • You are about to encounter the vibrant and conversational ghost of Angela Carter.In my opinion, The Magic Toyshop does not merit 4 stars, at least not for what it achieves in the literary sector but Carter does have such an uncompromising commitment to hating everything male with an abundant literally ball crushing fervour that I cannot help admiring her just a little bit.Actually, it s hard to avoid comparing her novel with Winterson s Oranges are Not the Only Fruit While the latter is merely a [...]

  • This book has such a cute cover and such an innocent and magical title that I was expecting a fairy tale between the covers Since this is a book for grown ups I didn t think it was all going to be lovely and happy ever after, but I definitely wasn t ready for the rather horrific tale I encountered.Melanie is 15 when her world shatters Both her parents die in an airplane accident and she and her younger brother and sister have to go and live with their uncle, his wife and her two younger brothers [...]

  • The best word I can think of to describe this book is unsettling Melanie, a young, quite self absorbed teenage girl, has her entire life turned upside down when her parents die in an accident and she and her two siblings are uprooted from their fairly lavish lifestyle to go and live with an estranged uncle she has never met However, this is not your typical tale of an orphan going to live with an unfamiliar relative Uncle Phillip is cruel, vicious, opinionated and I would go so far as to say he [...]

  • Oddly enough, I got a powerful Lemony Snicket vibe from this book, to the point where I would not consider adult, condensed version of A Series of Unfortunate Events to be a terribly inaccurate description Of course this book was written before Daniel Handler was even born I wonder if he was at all under its influence when dreaming up his series of children s novels.Okay, the similarities are largely superficial, but they are noticeable Three siblings the eldest a girl in her teens, the middle c [...]

  • She remembered the lover made up out of books and poems she had dreamed of all summer he crumbled like the paper he was made of before this insolent, off hand, terrifying maleness, filling the room with its reek She hated it But she could not take her eyes off him Torn wedding dresses, shattered dreams, death, incest and magic realism, written in the most exquisite language with heavy use of thought provoking symbolism and subtle hints Reading it was such an unforeseen surprise, and I am left wi [...]

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