Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead by Barbara Comyns

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Fiction. This is the story of the Willoweed family and the English village in which they live. It begins mid-flood, ducks swimming in the drawing-room windows, "quacking their approval" as they sail around the room. "What about my rose beds?" demands Grandmother Willoweed. Her son shouts down her ear-trumpet that the garden is submerged, dead animals everywhere, she will be lucky to get a bunch. Then the miller drowns himself...then the butcher slits his throat...and a series of gruesome deaths plagues the villagers. The newspaper asks, "Who will be smitten by this fatal madness next?" Through it all, Comyns' unique voice weaves a text as wonderful as it is horrible, as beautiful as it is cruel. Originally published in England in 1954, this "overlooked small masterpiece" is a twisted, tragicomic gem.

About Barbara Comyns

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Barbara Comyns was born in 1909 and brought up in rural Warwickshire,where she began writing and illustrating stories at the age of ten. Heridiosyncratic novels have been described as "like pictures painted on glass".She died in 1992.Margaret Drabble was born in Sheffield in1939 and educated at Newnham College, Cambridge, where she studiedEnglish Literature. She has published seventeen novels, most recently
Published November 1, 2010 by Dorothy, a publishing project. 216 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead

Vol. 1 Brooklyn

It’s unclear if this represents the start of a renewed larger interest in Comyns’s work — the two books mentioned here represent two of the three works of hers presently in print — but in a perfect world, that’s what Evenson’s introduction and an Emily Gould essay for The Awl would represent.

Mar 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead

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