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The Vet's Daughter [Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

Barbara Comyns , Susannah Harker

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Book Description

December 2000
The Vet's Daughter combines shocking realism with a visionary edge. The vet lives with his bedridden wife and shy daughter Alice in a sinister London suburb. He works constantly, captive to a strange private fury, and treats his family with brutality and contempt. After his wife's death, the vet takes up with a crass, needling woman who tries to refashion Alice in her own image. And yet as Alice retreats ever deeper into a dream world, she discovers an extraordinary secret power of her own.

Harrowing and haunting, like an unexpected cross between Flannery O'Connor and Stephen King, The Vet's Daughter is a story of outraged innocence that culminates in a scene of appalling triumph.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Sterling Audio Books; Unabridged edition (December 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0754005348
  • ISBN-13: 978-0754005346
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 12.4 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g

Product Description


“Comyns's world is weird and wonderful. Tragic, comic and completely bonkers all in one, I'd go as far as to call her something of a neglected genius.” —Lucy Scholes, The Guardian 

"I’d like also to recommend The Vet’s Daughter by Barbara Comyns, which hit me like a dangerous drug earlier this year: one of the best books I’ve ever read." --Wesley Stace, The Believer

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Barbara Comyns (1909–1992) was born in Bidford-on-Avon, in the English county of Warwickshire, one of six children of an increasingly unsuccessful Birmingham brewer. Living on the run-down but romantic family estate and receiving her education from governesses, she began to write and illustrate stories at the age of ten. After her father’s death, she attended art school in London and married a painter, with whom she had two children she supported by trading antiques and classic cars, modeling, breeding poodles, and renovating apartments. A second marriage, to Richard Comyns Carr, who worked in the Foreign Office, took place during World War II. Comyns wrote her first book, Sisters by the River (1947), a series of sketches based on her childhood, while living in the country to escape the Blitz, which is also when she made an initial sketch for The Vet’s Daughter. This, however, she put aside to complete Our Spoons Came from Woolworths (1950), about her first marriage, and Who was Changed and Who was Dead (1955). The Vet’s Daughter was published in 1959. Among Barbara Comyns’s other books are the novels The Skin Chairs (1962) and The Juniper Tree (1985), and Out of the Blue into the Red (1960), a work of nonfiction about Spain, where she lived for eighteen years. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Immortal Book Jan. 2 2007
By Ruby Petunia - Published on
Every sentence of this book startles, as if written by a person who understood language differently and better than other writers. It is a very short novel and an astounding one, a remarkable trip into the consciousness of a young girl who is subtly estranged from the world around her. Comyns writes in her own tradition, but she bears a sure relation to Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Bowen, and Penelope Fitzgerald, whose devotees will certainly love this book.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Neo-Gothic Classic Nov. 9 2011
By Bill Corporandy - Published on
This is one of my favorite books. I have read 2 of Comyn's other novels and enjoyed them but I prefer this one by a wide margin. A previous viewer has compared her to Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Bowen, and Penelope Fitzgerald. I see the legitimacy of the Fitzgerald comparison and especially the similarity to Bowen but not so much the Woolf comparison. I am sure there is legitimacy to her opinion but would urge readers of these reviews not to be put off if you are not a Woolf fan. I do not like Woolf but love Comyns. Her style is strange, nightmarish, gothic, and yet grimly realistic in many ways. I do not think it is a plot wrecker to mention that early on we see that this sad young girl has the gift of levitation. I guarantee you will never forget this book's vivid characters, atmosphere, and plot. By the way, another excellent novel involving levitation is Paul Auster's Mr. Vertigo.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Weird & Wonderful April 21 2011
By Gentle Reader - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The writing in this book is so strange and vivid... reading this small book left me breathless. It starts out as a small story about a wretched girl and her horrible upbringing, then becomes kind of a fantasy, which I didn't so much care for. But still, the whole book is so original that I have recommended it to a bunch of friends.

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