In this, her second novel, (awarded the 1967 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize) Angela Carter's brilliant imagination and starting intensity of style explore and extend the nature and boundaries of love.
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...
Angela Carter was born in 1940. One of Britain's most original and disturbing writers, she died in 1992.