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Edith Holler: Book summary and reviews of Edith Holler by Edward Carey

Edith Holler

A Novel

by Edward Carey

Edith Holler by Edward Carey X
Edith Holler by Edward Carey
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  • Published Oct 2023
    400 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

The witty and entrancing story of a young woman trapped in a ramshackle English playhouse—and the mysterious figure who threatens its very survival

The year is 1901. England's beloved queen has died, and her aging son has finally taken the throne. In the eastern city of Norwich, bright and inquisitive young Edith Holler spends her days among the boisterous denizens of the Holler Theatre, warned by her domineering father that the playhouse will literally tumble down if she should ever leave its confines. Fascinated by tales of the city she knows only from afar, she decides to write a play of her own: a stage adaptation of the legend of Mawther Meg, a monstrous figure said to have used the blood of countless children to make the local delicacy known as Beetle Spread. But when her father suddenly announces his engagement to a peculiar, imposing woman named Margaret Unthank, heir to the actual Beetle Spread fortune, Edith scrambles to protect her father, the theatre, and her play—the one thing that's truly hers—from the newcomer's sinister designs.

Teeming with unforgettable characters and illuminated by the author's trademark fantastical illustrations, Edith Holler is a surprisingly modern fable of one young woman's struggle to escape her family's control—and to reveal inconvenient truths about the way children are used.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Carey (Little) draws on fairy tales and Shakespeare for a dazzling bildungsroman...This affirms the author's standing as a major literary talent." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A raucous romp through the world of early 20th-century theater ... In ways both witty and dark, the novel brilliantly probes the distinction between drama and real life, audience and performer, actor and character. And the whimsical illustrations, all drawn by Carey himself, are the perfect accompaniment to a story about an art form as visual as it is verbal. A wonderfully strange and quirky tale about the power of penning and performing tales." —Kirkus Reviews

"Edith Holler is a masterpiece. Carey's prose teems with wonderfully twisted humor and play, breathing life into the spirits that haunt its gothic framework. It is that special novel that makes you wonder why there aren't more like it. The answer, of course, is that there is just one Edward Carey. Edith Holler is singular—a dark delight from beginning to end." —Erika Swyler, bestselling author of The Book of Speculation and Light from Other Stars

"Edith Holler is that rarest thing, a newly written tale that feels as though it's been discovered behind the stacked stone walls of an abandoned estate. It's eldritch, raucous, blistering, beautiful, and totally indelible." —Maria Dahvana Headley, New York Times bestselling author of The Mere Wife

"Brilliant and shiver-inducing, Edith Holler is a delightfully macabre achievement, equal parts Charles Dickens and Sweeney Todd. Through Edith's keen eyes we come to know her family theatre and its many denizens—each a masterpiece of oddity—as well as the frightening newcomer who threatens to topple her very world. A bravura performance." —Helene Wecker, New York Times bestselling author of The Golem and the Jinni

This information about Edith Holler was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Edward Carey Author Biography

Edward Carey is a novelist, visual artist, and playwright. His previous novels include The Swallowed Man, Little, Alva & Irva, and Observatory Mansions, and an acclaimed series for young adults, the Iremonger Trilogy. His writing for the stage includes an adaptation of Robert Coover's Pinocchio in Venice, a continuation of the Pinocchio story. Born in England, he now teaches at the University of Texas in Austin, where he lives with his wife, the author Elizabeth McCracken, and their family.

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