'There will be other, bigger biographies, but none more evocative than this sampler precisely stitched in literary petit-point' The Times Angela Carter was one of the most vivid voices of the twentieth century. When she died in 1992 at the age of fifty-one, she had published fifteen books of fiction and essays; outrage at her omission from any Booker Prize shortlists led to the foundation of the Orange Prize. Angela Carter sent her friend Susannah Clapp postcards from all over the world, missives which form a paper trail through her life. The pictures she chose were sometimes domestic, sometimes flights of fantasy and surrealism. The messages were always pungent. Here, Susannah Clapp uses postcards - the emails of the twentieth century - to travel through Angela Carter's life; and to evoke her anarchic intelligence, fierce politics, rich language and ribaldry, and the great swoops of her imagination.
An enchanting, compact and eloquent portrait of the beloved author by her friend and literary executor
A small masterpiece; in close-up, a warm and intimate portrait achieved with the most minimal, impressionistic strokes, in a wide-angle what its author calls "a zigzag path through the 80s" -- Ahdaf Soueif Guardian Books of the Year An affectionate memoir ... Seems to contain the pure concentrated essence of its subject. Most importantly, it makes you want to turn straight back to Carter's own vivid, astonishing books, and reread them all -- Jane Shilling Sunday Telegraph Her life was as full-bodied and bloodied in person as she was in print ... Exquisite jewel of a book ... Clapp skilfully weaves Carter's pithy correspondence into a moving account of her life ... Inquiring, irreverent, kind and often quirky ... it will send you scurrying back to the bookshelves to rediscover the work of one of England's brilliant baroque novelists Sunday Times Short and sweet ... Captures her humour, and describes her obsessions ... witty, unpredictable, fierce ... A slim book, but big hearted. Unapologetically reverential, it sings with love Spectator Gives a poignant sense of how much fun it must have been to know this sharp and fascinating writer Independent Glitteringly elegant and harrowing ... Clapp proves a skilful and intelligent guide to the life of a true original ... Clapp's elegant tribute ... usefully reminds us of this glorious writer we never appreciated quite enough -- Miranda Seymour Lady Warmly affectionate ... filled with surprising information about a genuinely unconventional woman and writer ... Highly recommended to those readers who continue to admire Carter's anarchic temperament -- Paul Bailey Literary Review Very good -- Edmund Gordon Daily Telegraph Far more captivating than fiction ...a luminous picture of her friend and correspondent ... an intimate, funny book, sometimes ribald, sometimes fierce, but fascinating all the same Independent Compact, elegant ... sharp insights into her intellectual preoccupations and into her character and personal history ... Clapp uses them, with economy and wit, to paint an enticing portrait of a singular mind entranced by the making and remaking of myth ... In this exercise in miniature biography, she manages to give us both aspects of an extraordinary figure -- Alex Clark Times Literary Supplement A gem ... And a wonderful epitaph -- Victoria Hislop Gives a unique insight into one of modern literature's most original and best-loved authors Evening Standard Fabulous ... Carter's pungent voice sounds throughout Harper's Bazaar Those who love the novels of Angela Carter will recognise here the woman - and the writer: as rare and vibrant as a unicorn. And those who don't know her work will likely immediately wish they did Metro A vivid sketch of her life and work ... Carter pops off the page precisely because we are not bogged down with a wealth of biographical data ... A delightful gem Scotland on Sunday Slender but pitch perfect ... Glorious Sunday Herald
Susannah Clapp is the literary executor of Angela Carter and the author of With Chatwin. She helped found th London Review of Books and has worked as a publisher's reader and editor, as radio critic of the Sunday Times and theatre critic of the New Statesman. She has been the theatre critic of the Observer since 1997. Susannah Clapp lives in London. @susannahclapp