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Margaret Drabble Books In Order

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Publication Order of The Radiant Way Books

The Radiant Way (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Natural Curiosity (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Gates of Ivory (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Summer Bird Cage (1963)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Garrick Year (1964)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Millstone (1965)Description / Buy at Amazon
Jerusalem the Golden (1967)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Waterfall (1969)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Needle's Eye (1972)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Realms Of Gold (1975)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Ice Age (1977)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Middle Ground (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Witch of Exmoor (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Peppered Moth (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Seven Sisters (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Red Queen (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Sea Lady (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Pure Gold Baby (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Dark Flood Rises (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Gifts of War (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Plays of Margaret Drabble (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Wordsworth (1966)Description / Buy at Amazon
Arnold Bennett (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Genius of Thomas Hardy (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
For Queen and Country (1978)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Writer's Britain (1979)Description / Buy at Amazon
Tradition of Womens Fiction (1982)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Oxford Companion to English Literature (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
Case For Equality (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
Safe As Houses (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Margaret Drabble In Tokyo (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
Angus Wilson (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Pattern in the Carpet (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
David Hockney (With: Marco Livingstone,Tim Barringer,Stuart Comer,Martin Gayford) (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Women and Fiction(1975)Description / Buy at Amazon
At the Pond(2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Book of Sheffield(2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Love Letter to Europe(2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Collision: Stories From the Science of CERN(2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Margaret Drabble
Author Margaret Drabble was born on June 5, 1939 in Sheffield and was educated at the Mount School, York, and Newnham College, Cambridge. She has written screenplays, biographies, and edited the Oxford Companion to English Literature. Her sister is fellow writer Atonia S. Byatt.

In the year 2011, she received the Golden PEN Award by English PEN for a “Lifetime’s Distinguished Service to Literature”.

She has been married twice. Once to actor Clive Swift from 1960 until 1975, with whom she had three kids with. They are Rebecca Swift, (who ran The Literary Consultancy), Adam Swift (the academic), and Joe Swift (TV personality and gardener). In the year 1982, she got remarried to Michael Holroyd, a writer and biographer.

Margaret’s debut novel, called “A Summer Bird-Cage”, was released in the year 1963. Her work is from the literary fiction and non-fiction genre.

“The Gates of Ivory” is the third novel in the “The Radiant Way” series and was released in the year 1991. In London, Liz Headleand, a psychiatrist, gets an unexpected package. It contains, among other things, some old newspaper clippings, a laundry bill from a hotel in Bangkok, and a couple human finger bones. She recognizes the handwriting as that of a man named Stephen Cox, who was travelling through the Far East.

With the help of her friends, Liz goes off in search of the guy that might once have been her lover. Gradually, the reader learns about Stephen’s difficult pilgrimage, from Thailand to Vietnam and then to Cambodia.

The novel is engagingly written with many meditations on revolution, atrocity, art, and human nature with Drabble’s thoughtfulness shining through her characters. It provides a gripping and thoroughly human tale, and is a totally magnificent piece of literature that some readers cannot recommend enough.

“The Peppered Moth” is a stand alone novel and was released in the year 2001. During the early 1900s, Bessie Bawtry (a small kid with big notions) lives in a South Yorkshire mining town in England. Refined and precocious in a land of a lot of mining grime and not much ambition, she waits for her time to escape this coarse and bleak existence that her ancestors rarely questioned.

Nearly a century later and Bessie’s granddaughter, Faro Gaulden, is hearing a lecture about genetic inheritance. She has come back to the depressed small town that Bessie grew up in and wonders about the families that never left.

Confronted with what could have been her life if her grandma had stayed, she finds that she has to confront some tough questions. Is she really all that different from the South Yorkshire locals? Right when she learns, the past has got its own way of reasserting itself, not unlike that peppered moth that seemed to be nearing extinction but now enjoys a sudden and unexplained resurgence.

This novel is full of sadness, irony, and humor and is simply a brilliant novel. Margaret writes in a voice that is wry and wise, and all of the characters are engaging, although they are not always likable. Readers found this to be a fascinating exploration of heredity, family, and history which links family members.

“The Red Queen” is a stand alone novel and was released in the year 2004.
Two Hundred years after she was plucked from obscurity to marry the Crown Prince of Korea, the Red Queen doesn’t want for people to forget about her extraordinary existence. Her privileged and long life behind the Korean palace walls was not like it appeared, and the Red Queen (rather her ghost) is desperate to retell her story.

Dr. Barbara Halliwell, with a complex past of her own, appears to be a great envoy, since she has read the Crown Princess’ memoirs while flying to Seoul. Barbara has quickly become engrossed in this story. Why would the Red Queen pick Barbara to keep this story alive, and what else could she want from her?

While she explores the royal courts and inner sanctums, Barbara starts to feel a strong affinity for everything that is related to the princess and the mysterious life she led. After an intense, brief, and ill-fated love affair, she heads back to London. Could she be ensnared by the events from the previous week, the past two centuries, or is she going to pick up her life exactly where she left it?

Readers found Margaret’s vivid writing rather gripping and some found it to be rather delightful. She does a great job of tying the two halves of the novel together, and developing her themes of human universality, the idea of possession, and the interplay between history and memoir rather well.

“The Dark Flood Rises” is a stand alone novel and was released in the year 2016. Francesca Stubbs leads a full life. She is a highly regarded expert on housing for the elderly that is getting older herself, and she drives ‘restlessly round England’, which is ‘her last love’ and she wants to see all of it before she dies.

With all of the professional conferences that she attends, she visits old friends, brings her ex-husband home-cooked dinners, and texts with her son (who grieves over his girlfriend’s sudden death). She also pays a visit to her daughter, who is a quirky young woman that lives in a flood plain out in the West Country.

The space between mortality and vitality seems narrow all of a sudden,. But Fran is not at all ready to settle yet, with a cat on her knee. She still prizes her own frisson of autonomy, her belief in herself as one dynamic individual doing some meaningful work in the world.

This novel is a moving, reflective, very satisfying, and easy to read novel that proves Margaret is still in top form even in her late seventies. A book about death and dying is usually macabre, but in Margaret’s hands it becomes mainly just a gentle journey down memory lane. The novel is both sad and comforting in varying degrees, and is well written, moving, erudite, and funny.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Margaret Drabble

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