October wasn’t much of a reading month for me. October was all about the move and DIYing. So I saw more paint brushes, hammers and nails than I did books. But near the end of the month, after the move had been completed, I was able to squeeze in a little bit of reading. So I don’t have much for you this time, but there is something there.
Angela Carter – The Magic Toyshop
So the only book I read this month is a dark, literary fiction novel. Written by acclaimed author Angela Carter, who seems to specialize in dark fairytales and related tales, I was expecting this to be completely different from what it was. So what is this book about?
Meet Melanie: a fifteen-going-on-sixteen girl who we are introduced to the summer she discovers herself and her sexuality. She is growing up in the countryside. Her parents are in the US on a lecture tour to promote her father’s writing. In the mean time, the nanny is looking after Melanie and her model building obsessed brother Jonathan and her baby sister Victoria. But then, on the night Melanie locks herself out of the house while wearing her mother’s wedding dress, her parents are involved in a tragic accident.
Heartbroken and riddled with guilt, Melanie and her siblings travel to London where she is taken in by her mute aunt Margaret and puppetmaker uncle Philip. In a house where there is no love, her new life is a contrast as big as could be to Melanie’s old situation. But while the situation is dire, Melanie discovers that there is love in the smallest and most unexpected of places.
While this book wasn’t what I had anticipated beforehand, this was a slow, weird, yet very well-founded read. It’s one of those books that is driven by its characters rather than the actions of the plot. As we follow Melanie she matures, faster than she can sometimes cope and that gives a thorough, be it bleak rendition of how one figure can dominate and terrorize an entire family.
This is not a fun read. Nor is it a fast read. But in the end, I quite enjoyed this. It wasn’t my favorite read, but it was still a valuable book to have read. And that is why I love reading some literary fiction from time to time as it always teaches you something new or provides you with different perspectives that you wouldn’t have find out otherwise. And that is what this book most certainly did.
What did you read last month?