The Palace of Curiosities by Rosie Garland

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...Garland's writerly abilities make it clear that she could just as easily have dispensed with these somewhat formulaic narrative devices.


A luminous and bewitching debut novel that is perfect for fans of Angela Carter. Set in Victorian London, it follows the fortunes of Eve, the Lion-Faced Girl and Abel, the Flayed Man. A magical realism delight. Before Eve is born, her mother goes to the circus. She buys a penny twist of coloured sugar and settles down to watch the heart-stopping main attraction: a lion, billed as a monster from the savage heart of Africa. Mama swears she hears the lion sigh, just before it leaps…and nine months later when Eve is born, the story goes, she doesn't cry - she meows and licks her paws. When Abel is pulled from the stinking Thames, the mudlarks are sure he is long dead. As they search his pockets to divvy up the treasure, his eyes crack open and he coughs up a stream of black water. But how has he survived a week in that thick stew of human waste? Cast out by Victorian society, Eve and Abel find succour from an unlikely source. They soar to fame as The Lion Faced Girl and The Flayed Man, star performers in Professor Josiah Arroner's Palace of Curiosities. And there begins a journey that will entwine their fates forever.

About Rosie Garland

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Born in London to a runaway teenager, Rosie has always been a cuckoo in the nest. She is an eclectic writer and performer, ranging from singing in Goth band The March Violets through touring with the Subversive Stitch exhibition in the 90s, to her current incarnation as Rosie Lugosi the Vampire Queen, cabaret chanteuse, incomparable compere and electrifying poet. She has published five solo collections of poetry and her award-winning short stories, poems and essays have been widely anthologized. The Palace of Curiosities is her debut novel.
Published January 1, 2013 by HarperCollins. 336 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Children's Books. Fiction
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Above average
Reviewed by Judith Flanders on Apr 05 2013

...Garland's writerly abilities make it clear that she could just as easily have dispensed with these somewhat formulaic narrative devices.

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