The Witch of Exmoor

The Witch of Exmoor

Book - 1996
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A richly textured, astutely observed, scathingly funny exploration of an extended British family which reveals every layer and nuance of the complex society that is Britain today. It is a midsummer's evening in Hampshire, deep in the country, and the three grown Palmer children Daniel, Gogo, Rosemary their partners, and children are coming to the end of an enjoyable meal. From this pleasant vantage point they play a dinner-party game: what kind of society would you be willing to accept if you didn't know your place in it? But the abstract question of justice, like all their family conversations, is brought back to the pressing problem of their eccentric mother, Frieda, the famous writer, who has abandoned them and her old life and gone off to live alone in Exmoor. Frieda has always been a powerful and puzzling figure, a monster mother with a mysterious past. What is she plotting against them now? Has some inconvenient form of political correctness led her to favour her enchanting half-Guyanese grandson? What will she do with her money? Is she really writing her memoirs? And why has she disappeared? Has the dark spirit of Exmoor finally driven her mad? The Witch of Exmoor brilliantly interweaves high comedy and personal tragedy with questions about social justice and progress, as Drabble unravels the story of this end-of-the-century family whose comfortable, rational lives both public and private are violently disrupted by a succession of sinister, messy events.
Publisher: Toronto : McClelland & Stewart, c1996
ISBN: 9780771028755
Branch Call Number: FIC Drabb 3558ad 1
Characteristics: 275 p


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WVMLStaffPicks Nov 13, 2014

The middle-aged siblings of a British upper middle-class family are thwarted in their attempts to control their dowager mother. Drabble’s detached observations of her characters and their class are clever and funny.

Nov 01, 2013

Witch or bitch? Eccentric, independent mom or an impending nightmare? Does she need help? Does her family need it? An interesting read about how this family deals with each other. Trapped by the cards dealt their mother in the past, what does their life hold in the future? How infinite is the future? The ending paled to the sometimes too expanding theory(ies) of text. I also thought the title could have been better. Still interesting to read.

Aug 16, 2012

Very British, very funny. A good read.

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