Miranda and Caliban: Jacqueline Carey

★★★★

In Act 1, Scene 2 of The Tempest, Prospero launches a virulent verbal attack on his servant Caliban: he is ‘filth’, a ‘poisonous slave’, ‘hag-seed’. He has greeted all Prospero’s efforts to civilise him with brutish indifference and, worst of all, he has repaid the magician’s kindnesses by trying to debauch Prospero’s young daughter Miranda. The play, like the island, is dominated by Prospero’s will and superficially we see nothing to counteract this stinging denunciation. But, if we look more closely, there are hints that all may not be so simple. Jacqueline’s Carey elegant novel draws out some of these allusions and offers a subtle retelling of the story, in which a childhood friendship between two motherless children develops into a heartbreaking study of the loss of innocence.

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