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Fabulous Reviews

Fabulous by Lucy Hughes-Hallett


Lucy Hughes-Hallett

Score pending

2 reviews

Category: Fiction
Imprint: Fourth Estate Ltd
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 13 Jun 2019
ISBN: 9780008334857

Not since Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber have old stories been made to feel so electrically new. Not since Wim Winders' Wings of Desire have the numinous and the everyday been so magically combined.

4 stars out of 5
25 Jun 2019

"Orpheus, Jesus and the orbit of Pasiphae’s pimp"

It takes a few pages to get in there but once you have entered the world of Fabulous, you are unlikely to leave until you’re done. Lucy Hughes-Hallett is best known for her cultural histories and biographies, including that of the Italian poet Gabriele D’Annunzio, The Pike (TLS, March 8, 2013); recently she published her debut novel, Peculiar Ground (TLS, June 9, 2017). The stories in this debut collection are based on ancient myth, the Gospels and medieval folklore, but they play out in various London boroughs, a small town with a library and a war memorial, a seaside resort with “a café that used to be a dance hall”, and a Suffolk shore. Throughout, there is a magnetic quality to the writing, and a compelling uncertainty of purpose.


2 stars out of 5
Johanna Thomas-Corr
24 Jun 2019

"Too much whimsy and garbled storytelling mar this collection based on the classics"

 Fabulous – as in “fantastical” rather than “Fabulous, Darling!” presumably – comprises eight retellings of Graeco-Roman myths, Bible stories and fairytales, set in a contemporary Britain of flashy estate agents, economic migrants and camp antiques dealers. The publishers compare it to Angela Carter’s 1979 book, The Bloody Chamber, a subversive reworking of European folk tales that combined postmodern self-awareness with an otherworldly darkness. But Fabulous is quite unlike anything I’ve ever read. And not in a fabulous way either.