HONEYBUZZARD by Angela Carter


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Purgatory or purgative? It's hard to any what the intent of this first novel is--perhaps both. Honeybuzzard is a black-leather-jacketed young man with a ""mass of blond hair tumbling to his shoulders in a faint drift of dandruff."" He is given to practical jokes, some of them obscene. One of them is Ghislaine, a former golden girl, now wearing a livid scar from her eyebrow to her neck. He also battens on other people, particularly his partner, Morris, with whom he runs a junk-shop. Together they prowl through old houses and a good deal of this book is filled with the bric-a-brac of disuse and decay (""Curtains still hung, layered with dust, at the windows; a chamber-pot, rank with urine and floating a crust of dead flies, stood in the centre of an attic floor;"" etc.). What takes place here is really no less noisome, but except for a few offhand, terminal remarks, none of this grotesque behavior is given any real meaning. Miss Carter's magpie eye for detail and graphic gifts with words sometimes raises this above the detritus of the experience she is recording.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1966
Publisher: Simon & Schuster