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D (A Tale of Two Worlds) Reviews

D (A Tale of Two Worlds) by Michel Faber

D (A Tale of Two Worlds): A modern-day Dickensian fable

Michel Faber

2.67 out of 5

3 reviews

Imprint: Doubleday
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Publication date: 17 Sep 2020
ISBN: 9780857525109

Her triumph will have readers rejoicing' DIANE SETTERFIELD'YA readers will love it, but Faber's brio and bubbly ingenuity will delight adult readers too' DAILY MAIL 'In this rather ebullient and lovely new novel by Michel Faber ...

2 stars out of 5
Erica Wagner
2 Oct 2020

"Faber’s novels are often distinguished by his mastery of eerie dread; that’s precisely what’s missing here."

In that other world, known as Gampalonia, there are entertaining details: gleaming Ds carried through the air by dragonflies, kindly cat-headed people known as the Drood; but the story lacks drama. Dhikilo encounters prejudice and oppression, both of which she escapes in a not entirely convincing manner, completing her mission at no real cost to herself. She gets cold and hungry, but there’s no sense of peril, or that anything is truly at stake. Faber’s novels are often distinguished by his mastery of eerie dread; that’s precisely what’s missing here.

Reviews

3 stars out of 5
Sam Leith
22 Sep 2020

"This fantasy adventure is charming in the way it riffs on the great Victorian novelist’s work, but it doesn't quite cohere in itself"

The story – in terms of motivation and cause-and-effect and worldbuilding, which are as important if not more important in fantasy than in realist writing – doesn’t really cohere. Things just sort of happen. Loose ends dangle. An intrusive narrator – survivor, perhaps, of an early draft – comes in for a page or two, then fades. If I had to guess why Faber spent so long writing the book, I’d say he had a series of wonderful ideas and then struggled to incorporate them into a story. It’s testament to his storytelling gift and the warmth and charm of his writing that it doesn’t much matter in the end.

3 stars out of 5
Laura Freeman
19 Sep 2020

"one wishes for greater darkness in the telling"

Faber acknowledges his debt to The Wizard of Oz, to Narnia, to Wonderland and, of course, to a certain Charles Ickens. As an evoted Ickensian, I ought to love this book. The scheme is inspired, but D is curiously unsatisfactory. The Sunday Times review of The Crimson Petal and the White (2002) described Faber’s reimagining of a Victorian doorstopper as a “psychosexual cauldron”. D is more of a chaste bouillabaisse. There are wonderful things in it, but the stock is under-peppered. Be kind, is the message. Be good. Dare to stand up to dictators. One doesn’t disagree, but one wishes for greater darkness in the telling.