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The stark horror of Barbara Comyns’s fiction was all too autobiographical

Comyns’s fans have long enjoyed the novels’ macabre details and black humour. Now Avril Horner reveals their disturbing sources

16 March 2024

9:00 AM

16 March 2024

9:00 AM

Barbara Comyns: A Savage Innocence Avril Horner

Manchester University Press, pp.424, 30

Barbara Comyns’s reputation rises and falls like a Mexican wave, making her one of the most rediscovered novelists of recent times. She’s credited with anticipating Angela Carter and for being in the vanguard of tackling themes of traumatic dissociation and the realities of childbirth. Yet younger, trendier writers have regularly eclipsed her.

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