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Rogers, Jane

virgins visionary story wroe

(British, 1952– )

Start with Mr Wroe's Virgins (1991), the remarkable, true story of a nineteenth-century prophet who announces to his congregation that they should give him seven virgins for his ‘comfort and succour’. The story is told by four of the virgins, including the brutalized, inarticulate Martha, and allows the question of whether Mr Wroe is a visionary or a charlatan to remain mysterious. While Rogers never tackles the same territory twice, the character who is deprived and/or inarticulate features repeatedly in her work, as does the visionary. In Promised Lands (1995, Writers’ Guild best novel award) the sense of vision connects two very different narratives, one in Australia in 1788 and the other in the present. In Island (1999) a young woman's plot to murder her mother leads her to a surprisingly magical place.

Margaret Atwood, Hilary Mantel  LM

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