“The Vet’s Daughter”, by Barbara Comyns

Novel, 1959

Slim fiction featuring the titular, deeply unreliable narrator trying to find her way in the world with a dominated mother, abusive father, deaf and dumb best friend and a hint and a suggestion of a life partner. This is a gothic tale which deals with vivisectionists and levitation with a sing-song, almost matter of fact tone, given a rich immediacy through the use of the first person. Alice looks, every now and again, like she might get the better of the ogres who dog her every step, with the help of a kindly housekeeper and devoted, would-be suitor. There are, however, barriers, not least her own inability to stand on her own two feet and become a person, rather than a battered victim. A great read.

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