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Mrs Caliban (Faber Editions)

Rachel Ingalls

The amphibious cult classic: this magical tale of a suburban housewife’s affair with a frogman is ‘seductive’ (Margaret Atwood), ‘genius’ (Patricia Lockwood), ‘perfect’ (Max Porter), ‘a feminist masterpiece’ (Carmen Maria Machado), and ‘out-weirds and out-romances anything today’ (Marlon James).

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The amphibious cult classic: a magical tale of a suburban housewife’s affair with a frogman . . .

‘Disturbing but seductive … Wonderful.’ Margaret Atwood

‘Perfect.’ Max Porter

‘Still outpaces, out-weirds, and out-romances anything today.’ Marlon James

‘A feminist masterpiece: tender, erotic, singular.’ Carmen Maria Machado

‘Genius … A broadcast from a stranger and more dazzling dimension.’ Patricia Lockwood

‘Kind of weird and cool. ‘ Irvine Welsh

‘Genius … Like Revolutionary Road written by Franz Kafka … Exquisite.’ The Times

‘Incredibly liberates readers from the awfulness of convention to a state where weirdness and otherness are beautiful.’ Sarah Hall

‘A devastating fable of mythic proportions … Wondrously peculiar.’ Irenosen Okojie (foreword)

Dorothy is a grieving housewife in the Californian suburbs; her husband is unfaithful, but they are too unhappy to get a divorce. One day, she is doing chores when she hears strange voices on the radio announcing that a green-skinned sea monster has escaped from the Institute for Oceanographic Research – but little does she expect him to arrive in her kitchen. Muscular, vegetarian, sexually magnetic, Larry the frogman is a revelation – and their passionate affair takes them on a journey beyond their wildest dreams . . . Rachel Ingalls’s Mrs Caliban is a bittersweet fable, a subversive fairy tale, as magical today as it was four decades ago.

‘A miracle … A perfect novel.’ New Yorker

‘Every one of its 125 pages is perfect … Clear a Saturday, please, and read it in a single sitting.’ Harper’s

Critic Reviews

A tender, erotic, singular novel; a feminist masterpiece.

Carmen Maria Machado
Critic Reviews

Genius ... A broadcast from a stranger and more dazzling dimension ... One of my favorites.

Patricia Lockwood
Critic Reviews

Still outpaces, out-weirds, and out-romances anything today.

Critic Reviews

A tale so curiously right, so romantically obverse, that it creates its own terrible, brilliant reality.

Sarah Hall
Critic Reviews

Kind of weird and cool.

Irvine Welsh
Critic Reviews

Genius ... Its absurdity throws everything else into relief — the hackneyed tale of suburban boredom is refreshed — and the result is like Revolutionary Road written by Franz Kafka ... A exquisite hors d’oeuvre, which leaves your mouth watering for more.

John Self, The Times
What Readers Are Saying
‘Maybe the most gorgeous, lyrical book ever written’*****
‘A fantastic wee novel, strange and brilliant, and absolutely the inspiration for The Shape of Water.’ *****
‘Wonderful, sharp minimal prose offers big truths. Superb – brilliant, in fact.’*****
‘Absolutely incredible. It’s weird, funny, and heartbreaking, like a Richard Yates novel except with lizardman sex.’*****
‘One of the best tongue-in-cheek social satires that I’ve ever read. It delves into gender politics. It takes a long, hard look at mental health. It addresses female sexual freedom and agency. It asks the reader to examine what it means to be human … Genius.’*****
‘Really brilliant: a deconstruction of suburbia by way of monster movies that examines sad realities with hilarious verve … Sometimes you need a sexy frog person to break you out of the ties that bind. ‘*****
‘Hooked me so deeply I picked it up and finished it the same night … Beautiful … Will stay with me.’*****
‘What the hell just happened?’*****

Rachel Ingalls was born in Boston in 1940. She spent time in Germany before studying at Radcliffe College, and moved to England in 1965, where she lived for the rest of her life. Her debut novel, Theft (1970), won the Authors’ Club First Novel Award, and her novella Mrs Caliban (1982) was named one of the 20 best American novels…

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