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Blackwood, Caroline

girl anglo novel set

(Anglo-Irish, 1931–96)

Born in Ulster into an aristocratic family, Blackwood worked as a journalist, producing notable studies of the Duchess of Windsor and the Greenham Common women's peace camp. Her fiction is characterized by her dark studies of women, often trapped by guilt, bitterness, and uncertainty; these are unsettling books but blackly humorous. Her first novel, The Stepdaughter (1976), is a monologue set in New York. The shortlisting of her second, Great Granny Webster (1977), for the Booker Prize, brought Blackwood wide acclaim. This short but compulsive novel gradually reveals the disturbed lives of several female generations in a landed Anglo-Irish family, a story set in train by a young girl's visit to the frigid household of her great-grandmother just after the war. The Fate of Mary Rose (1981) is a detached account of a girl's abduction and murder, and Corrigan (1984) concerns a widow's involvement with a possible conman.

Rebecca West, A. L. Barker.

See IRELAND  JS

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