Margaret Drabble: The Red Queen

Red Queen(Penguin, 2005)

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Inspired by the Memoirs of Lady Hyegyong. The first half is a re-telling of the original story with the benefit of an additional 200 years’ hindsight; the second half is set in modern times, in a story which echoes some of the themes of the original. The only part which stretches the credulity is that on arriving at her posh downtown Seoul hotel and discovering she has left her suitcase on the baggage carousel at Incheon, our heroine immediately leaps into a cab (just after lunch) for a quick round trip to the airport (and is back in town in time for tea). Maybe just about feasible, but I thought that was what the concierge was for. A gripping first half, but (maybe I’m missing something) a strangely aimless second half.

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