The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble

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Synopsis

Barbara Halliwell, on a grant at Oxford, receives an unexpected package-a centuries-old memoir by a Korean crown princess. An appropriate gift indeed for her impending trip to Seoul, but Barbara doesn't know who sent it. On the plane, she avidly reads the memoir, a story of great intrigue as well as tragedy. The Crown Princess Hyegyong recounts in extraordinary detail the ways of the Korean court and confesses the family dramas that left her childless and her husband dead by his own hand. When a Korean man Barbara meets at her hotel offers to guide her to some of the haunts of the crown princess, Barbara tours the royal courts and develops a strong affinity for everything related to the princess and her mysterious life. Barbara's time in Korea goes quickly, but captivated by her experience and wanting to know more about the princess, she wonders if her life can ever be the way it was before.
 

About Margaret Drabble

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MARGARET DRABBLE is the author of The Sea Lady, The Seven Sisters, The Peppered Moth, and The Needle's Eye, among other novels. For her contributions to contemporary English literature, she was made a Dame of the British Empire in 2008.
 
Published October 3, 2005 by Mariner Books. 354 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Red Queen

The New York Times

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Margaret Drabble's novel inserts the voice of an 18th-century Korean princess into the midlife crisis of a modern British academic.

Oct 10 2004 | Read Full Review of The Red Queen

The Guardian

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Babs Halliwell, too, has a son who died young, a husband who is mad and wants a red dress.

Aug 30 2004 | Read Full Review of The Red Queen

The Guardian

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The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble Viking £16.99, pp349 A package has arrived via Amazon.

Aug 22 2004 | Read Full Review of The Red Queen

The Guardian

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The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble 358pp, Viking, £16.99 Margaret Drabble's last novel was about an abandoned Home Counties housewife who tries to make a new life that captures the splendour of Virgil's Aeneid.

Aug 21 2004 | Read Full Review of The Red Queen

Publishers Weekly

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Her story and her spirit all but possess Dr. Halliwell, whose tragic personal losses and highly ritualized professional life cleverly and subtly mirror those of the crown princess.

Sep 06 2004 | Read Full Review of The Red Queen

Book Reporter

Korean Crown Princess Hyegyong speaks from her 200-year-old grave to reveal the true story of her life.

Jan 23 2011 | Read Full Review of The Red Queen

Entertainment Weekly

An 18th-century Korean princess tells her harrowing life story in the lyrical first half of Margaret Drabble's lovely, intelligent 16th novel.

Oct 08 2004 | Read Full Review of The Red Queen

Spirituality & Practice

The author has divided the book into three sections: the memoir of a Crown Princess of Korea, an account of Halliwell's trip to the conference, and a section titled "Postmodern Times" in which the novelist even makes an appearance.

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ReadySteadyBook

The Red Queen begins impressively and is a consistently pleasurable read, an unceasingly engaging tale of two highly intelligent, educated women separated by centuries but united in a common goal, to preserve the memories of both themselves and those they have loved.

Aug 26 2004 | Read Full Review of The Red Queen

Reader Rating for The Red Queen
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