Wednesday, 5 August 2009

The Magic Toyshop (ii) (Carter) 56

As I mentioned yesterday, I intended to write about The magic toyshop in two posts, and today I'm happy to introduce our first guest blogger, Claire, from Paperback Reader. She is a big Virago fan, as you can see here and offered to write about The magic toyshop for the VVV blog. Very many thanks to Claire, and I hope you will be seeing more guest posts from her (and to other people reading this, please do contact me if you would like to write something).

I attempt to restrain myself from
owning duplicate copies of books but sometimes there are books -or to
be frank, certain covers- that come along where I lose my resolve.
The Magic Toyshop by Angela
Carter is one such book. Virago and Angela Carter had ties of mutual
admiration with one another; in fact Carter was involved with Virago
from the very beginning, from its inception in the Seventies and was
member of the editorial and advisory committee. and Lorna Sage
described Carter as "one of Virago's fairy godmothers". Four of
Carter's novels and one of her short story volumes feature on Virago's
list of Modern Classics and she also edited books of fairy tales and
short stories by other Virago writers for the iconic publishing
house. On the week of her death in 1992 Virago sold out of Angela
Carter's books and brought some of the earlier titles back into print
and have remained loyal to the writer and her work since.

I own three of the following six editions all published by Virago; I
just couldn't resist! The third green one from the bottom, the one in
the middle with the enchanting image of Melanie -the novel's
protagonist- is the first one I had but one I am unwilling to part
with as it is heavily annotated in pencil. My favourite, and the
second I bought because of its cover, is the second one from the top
with the vivid image of Melanie with the swan puppet, re-enacting the
myth of Leda and the swan; I love the modern cover art for Angela
Carter's books and think they are extremely special and fabulous
marketing. The last edition of The
Magic Toyshop I bought was the top one when it was released in
2008 as one of eight commemorative hardbacks published for Virago
Modern Classic's 30th Birthday. The textile cover is the design
"Puppet Ballet" by Jacqueline Groag and is such a beautiful copy. I
hope you enjoy the covers as much as I do.


  1. I gave up my virago copy (the second one from the bottom) when I purchased the hardback edition by virago. I have yet to read it though. Like you verity, I'm a bit nervous and think I probably won't like it, but after all the rave reviews, I'll have to try it!

  2. Claire, both you and Verity are teaching me so much about books and authors, reading your blogs is like an English class without the tuition fee or assigned homework!

  3. *beams*

    Thank you, Darlene.
    If I could persuade book-lovers to read one author they never have, it would be Angela Carter.

  4. Fun covers. Who did the art on the second cover? I really like that one and the one with the little girl wearing a crown and looking in the mirror.

    I just read my first Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber, last year and loved it. I just looked at it again this morning thinking it was time to pull it out and enjoy a second read through.

  5. I've never read Angela Carter. Don't know what to expect. I love that top cover the best.

  6. Carl, the cover art is Roxanna Bikadoroff, which I should have mentioned.

    Claire, see the comment I made to Darlene! I really mean it; I cannot recommend Angela Carter highly enough. It is difficult to manage your expectations; Carter is fairly indescribable but in Verity's review I commented that she can be liked to Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Salman Rushdie so I imagine you would love her.

  7. Thanks for popping in Carl! I've not read The bloody chamber yet, but I certainly want to re-read The magic toyshop. It's rare for me to want to re-read books.

    Darlene - what a lovely comment!

    Claire - do give her a go.

  8. I don't normally go for duplicate editions either, but sometimes they just beg for an exception! That second cover of The Magic Toyshop is irresistible. And speaking of duplicates, must get my hands on that one volume edition of the fairy tales anthologies she edited.

  9. So many different perspectives in the cover design, and they all convey the story so well. Except for the last one, that I strongly looks, em, half-hearted. My favourite would be the first one and the second one.