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About the author
Caroline Blackwood (1931-1996) was born into a rich Anglo-Irish aristocratic family. She rebelled against her background at an early age and led a hectic and bohemian life, which included marriages to the painter Lucian Freud, the pianist and composer Israel Citkowitz, and the poet Robert Lowell. In the 1970s Blackwood began to write. Among her books are several novels, including Great Granny Webster and Corrigan (both available as NYRB Classics); On the Perimeter, an account of the women’s anti-nuclear protest at Greenham Common; and The Last of the Duchess, about the old age of the Duchess of Windsor.
Andrew Solomon is a regular contributor to The New Yorker, Artforum, and The New York Times Magazine, and the author of The Irony Tower: Soviet Artists in a Time of Glasnost; the novel A Stone Boat; and The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, for which he received the National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize nomination. He lives in New York City and London.
Corrigan is at once a mordant comedy of manners and a very modern morality play. Since her husband’s death, the increasingly frail Mrs. Blunt has had only her trips to his grave to look forward to. Her raucous housekeeper’s conversation, and cooking, are best forgotten. Nadine, her daughter, is an infrequent, uneasy visitor. Then one day a charming, wheelchair-bound Irishman shows up at Mrs. Blunt’s door in search of charitable contributions. Corrigan is an arch manipulator, Mrs. Blunt is his mark, and before long we realize that they are made for each other. As the two grow ever more entrenched, Nadine fears for her mother’s safety (or is it for her own inheritance?).
With Corrigan Caroline Blackwood takes a long, hard look at our dearly beloved notions of saints and sinners, victims and villains, patrimony and present pleasure, and winks.
New York Review Books
; April 2012
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Author: Caroline Blackwood; Andrew Solomon
In the press
"Caroline Blackwood combines a childlike neatness and exactitude of expression with an adult susceptibility to the charm of the unexpected and devious: an effective mix."— The Times Literary Supplement
"A fine creation—manic, at times demonic."— Penelope Lively, Sunday Telegraphy
"Domesticity for Miss Blackwood has never been cozy; she listens for the ticking of the time bomb in the teapot."— Carolyn Geiser, The New York Times Book Review
"Funny, frightening and immensely enjoyable. The author writes with an appalled, amused intensity that is completely original but without a trace of pretentiousness. The result is unexpectedly powerful, like a box of chocolates with amphetamine centers."— Francis Wyndham, Sunday Times (London)
"One might say Blackwood practices a bullfighter’s feint. The author waves a red cape at us, knowing we will charge at the wrong target. The best example of this approach is Corrigan. This 1984 novel is Blackwood’s loveliest and most craftily assembled work of fiction and, strange to say, her sunniest, though the sunshine arrives late in the day and in an extremely perverse yet logical manner….There is a surprise lurking in its pages that overturns our understanding of what we’ve read about for a hundred pages or so, an enriching surprise that has been basking more or less in plain sight, but perhaps even more striking is the uncharacteristically wily optimism of Corrigan."— Gary Indiana, Bookforum