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A Natural Curiosity Hardcover – February 16, 1992


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Hardcover, February 16, 1992
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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Random House Value Publishing (February 16, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517080044
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517080047
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,584,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Continuing her ironic depiction of "mean, cold, ugly, divided, tired . . . post-imperial, post-industrial" Britain, and taking up the lives of characters met in The Radiant Way , Drabble here produces a tighter and more cohesive tale . "While her quirky characters often seem to exist to vent their author's spleen, they animate an involving story," observed PW.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Frances Jeater's sprightly but even-paced style carries the listener through this episodic novel set in 1980s Great Britain and captures the many moods of the characters. Part of a trilogy, the work focuses on the lives of Alix, Liz, and Esther but includes a cast of characters related by blood, marriage, extended family ties, and friendships. Alix has formed an acquaintance with a serial murderer serving time in prison. Liz inquires into relationships with parents, husband, and children. Esther is considering a marriage. Also a commentary on the Thatcher years, the novel illustrates how contemporary economic and social conditions have affected the lives of these families. An excellent production; highly recommended for fiction collections.ACatherine Swenson, Norwich Univ. Lib., Northfield, VT
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

More About the Author

Margaret Drabble is the author of The Sea Lady, The Seven Sisters, The Peppered Moth, and The Needle's Eye, among other novels. She has written biographies of Arnold Bennett and Angus Wilson, and she is the editor of the fifth and sixth editions of The Oxford Companion to English Literature. For her contributions to contemporary English literature, she was made a Dame of the British Empire in 2008.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By algo41 on April 16, 2013
Format: Paperback
This sequel to "The Radiant Way" is written in the same style, but now focuses on Alix rather than Liz, and on a small city rather than London. To my mind Alix is the more interesting, sympathetic and unique character. Drabble succeeds beautifully in involving the reader in Alix's interest in a jailed serial killer who "was distressing rather than frightening" (p.192.

One criticism of the novel, noted by another reviewer, is that there are too many characters; it is not the count, per se, but the lack of integration. Drabble, in both "Radiant Way" and "A Natural Curiosity" is attempting, as one objective, something of a social novel, but in "Radiant Way" this does not prove a distraction. When Drabble in that novel gives you the perspective of a minor character, such as Jillian Fox, it enriches the reader's understanding of a relationship important to the primary character. This is not true of the Enderby's and other characters in "A Natural Curiosity". Incidentally, the author's note explains why Stephen Cox is so frequently wondered about - Drabble was planning to write a novel about him. Both "Radiant Way" and "A Natural Curiosity" celebrate curiosity - the 3 women friends all have a wonderful sense of curiosity, albeit not about science.
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Format: Paperback
I picked up this book to read because I have been seeing reviews of Ms. Drabble's books that made me curious. I didn't even have a particular title in mind.

After reading the first five-sixths of "A Natural Curiosity," I had to go back very nearly to the beginning of the book to get a much firmer handle on who all of these people were. I knew I was swimming long before I decided to thread back, but kept thinking that maybe all would become clear.

It didn't, exactly, but it became clear enough that I became attached to the various main characters. I think the amazing revelation near the end rather escaped me because the matter of Liz and Shirley's parentage wasn't clear in my mind. Yet, I knew from the beginning that I was reading a kind of sequel to an earlier novel. I will definitely be finding "The Radiant Way" and reading it now.

I was also "out of the loop" re: the significance of the various districts that the characters came from, being an American unacquainted with the social and historical significance of English locales. I discovered that I was more curious to learn more about these areas than in other forays into English literature.

One review here made it clear to me that reading "The Radiant Way" would be rewarding! Thank you, Margaret Drabble.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hated to finish it. Enjoyed it as much as The Radiant Way and The Gates of Ivory.
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kate Smart on January 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is the sequel to Drabble's "The Radiant Way" and is quite a disappointment. There are simply too many characters to keep track of, many of whom are completely unnecessary to the story line. The most interesting character, Shirley, is not fully explored. Instead, the author details seemingly pointless escapades of characters who were briefly introduced in the first chapter, not to be mentioned again until the end. It is baffling.
Also, many times she speaks directly to the reader, eg: "Now, I guess you're wondering what happens to so-and-so..." It's very irritating. I finished the book because Margaret Drabble is a fine writer. Unfortunately, every time I picked up the book, I had to re-read the previous half chapter to remember what was going on. Ultimately, this is a story that you will immediately forget upon completion.
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