Christopher Hart

Heart And Seoul

The Red Queen: A Transcultural Tragicomedy

By Margaret Drabble

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MARGARET DRABBLE’S THE Red Queen is set half in eighteenth-century Korea, and half in the twenty-first century world of ‘overwhelming global muddle’. There is then an epilogue which is set, archly, in ‘Postmodern Times’. Subtitled a ‘transcultural tragicomedy’, and 111 of wry wit rather than outright comedy, and sad irony rather than true tragedy, it is a complex, deeply satisfying novel about death and rebirth, memory and immortality. It is also richly and surprisingly sensuous – especially its first half, an exotic, historical journey through a seductive and alien landscape.

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