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Ursula Holden Biography

(1921– ), Endless Race, Eric's Choice, Tin Toys, Unicorn Sisters, A Bubble Garden

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: John Hersey Biography to Honest Man's Revenge

British novelist, born in Dorset; she has lived in Egypt, Dublin, and London. She published her first novel, Endless Race (1975), when she was 54. Her austere, almost staccato style and fastmoving narrative contrasts with the dreamy fairy-tale quality of many of her books. The unease and the black humour which she cultivates comes partly from this contrast and also from the sudden unveiling of the brutal realities behind family relationships and divisions in social class. In Eric's Choice (1984) the marriage between a middle-class schoolmaster and his spoiled working-class student proves disastrous because neither of them can tolerate any reality other than the one into which they have been born. Her trilogy of novels, Tin Toys (1986), Unicorn Sisters (1988), and A Bubble Garden (1989), about three sisters abandoned by their glamorous mother to a succession of nannies and relatives and a run-down boarding school, juxtaposes extremes of innocence and sexual knowingness. A more recent novel is Help Me Please (1991).

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