Mrs. Caliban

Rachel Ingalls (Author) Rivka Galchen (Introduction by)

Product Details

$13.95  $12.83
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publish Date
November 28, 2017
5.1 X 0.5 X 7.8 inches | 0.31 pounds
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About the Author

Rachel Ingalls (1940-2019) was born in Boston and lived in the UK from 1965 until her death. She wrote the novels Mrs. Caliban and Binstead's Safari as well as numerous novellas and short stories.

Rivka Galchen is an award winning fiction writer and journalist who loves noodles and numbers and modest-sized towns where her dad might have worked. Her work appears often in The New Yorker, Harper's, The London Review of Books and The New York Times. She is the author of three books: Atmospheric Disturbances (Novel, FSG, 2008), American Innovations (Short Stories, FSG 2014) and Little Labors (Essays, New Directions, 2016). She has received numerous prizes and fellowships, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rona Jaffe Fellowship, The Berlin Prize and The William J Saroyan International Prize in Fiction. In 2010, she was named to The New Yorker's list of 20 Writers Under 40. Galchen also holds an MD from Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Rat Rule 79 is her first book for young readers.


A perfect novel.--Rivka Galchen
It's not just Disney that can ruminate on romance between a beauty and a beast. In this reissue of Rachel Ingalls' 1982 novel, housewife Dorothy hears on the radio that a potentially dangerous monster has just escaped a research facility. But when the creature walks through her door, he awakens something new in her. This is our pick for feminist social satire that's deliciously weird.--Estelle Tang"27 Best New Fall Books" (08/21/2017)
The love story is a delight, the social commentary sharp, the writing funny and fun--and yet the sorrow, even bitterness, at the core of this book about our perfidious species is inescapable and profound.
Ms. Ingalls is an experienced writer of novels and stories, and her perfor-mances are immensely skillful, reminiscent of the best film thrillers.--Ursula K. Le Guin
A masterpiece and totally off the wall.
Every volume Rachel Ingalls has written displays the craft of a quite remarkable talent. Tales of love, terror, betrayal and grief, which others would spin out for hundreds of pages, are given the occluded force of poetry.
In her best work, Ingalls is as monochromatic as Edgar Allan Poe, going straight to her target with the same ease and surety as an arrow skims to its bull's-eye... And just as Poe's craft was exactly suited to the conventions of the short story form, so Ingalls' vision is exactly suited to the length and scope of the novella... Like Poe, Rachel Ingalls is more than a master storyteller: She is also a superb artist.
Rachel Ingalls has created a tight, intriguing portrait of a woman's escape from unacceptable reality and presented an account of derangement so matter-of- fact, so ordinary and at the same time so bizarre, that through her words we experience new insight.
By marrying domestic realism with the literature of the bizarre, Ingalls brings tenderness to the monstrous and renders the recognizable utterly weird. Compact yet capacious, the novel wonders at all the ways we can desire and destroy one another. It's unabashedly campy and deadly serious; it dares the reader to admit that these aims are not at all at odds.
A love affair with a 6-foot-7-inch amphibian might not be every woman's fantasy, but for Dorothy--the lonely housewife at the center of this soon-to-be-reissued 1982 novel--it's working out just fine. A short, funny, bizarre novel that's worth your time.
[A] slim surrealist masterpiece.
Indeed, as a feminist piece with a deep romantic core, that might best explain Mrs. Caliban's ability to emerge as an unlikely literary classic. There's the sheer entertainment factor -- steamy Aquaman sex, anyone?--but then just underneath is a real depth, a quiet brilliance in its study of behavior and circumstance. It cuts through the noise, enlightening while also resonating, soothing in its dreamy surrealism. And isn't that the perfect recipe for an enduring classic?-- (01/26/2018)
Thirty-five years old, it is fresher than most things written yesterday. I wish I could say that I have always known about it. Instead I confess to the zeal of a new convert. Every one of its 125 pages is perfect, original, and arresting. Clear a Saturday, please, and read it in a single sitting.-- (12/01/2017)
Perhaps Ingalls's finest accomplishment in the novel is the unflappable gentleness of her tone, which records supernatural surprise and flaming horror simply, almost tranquilly. The result is paradoxically quotidian and dreamlike, like a fable or folktale.-- (11/28/2017)
[A] peculiar but wonderful and long-overlooked novella...-- (12/03/2017)
Imagine if Muriel Spark wrote science fiction and you'll get close to what this book feels like: a triumph of tone, a tale of loneliness upended.--John Freeman (07/27/2018)
Thirty-five years old and it still outpaces, out-weirds, and out-romances anything written today.--Marlon James"Celebrity Picks: Marlon James's Favorite Reads of 2018" (12/07/2018)
Mrs. Caliban is one of my favorite novels in the world.-- (08/21/2017)
Mrs. Caliban has the melancholy, bittersweet air of a romance that has come to no significant resolution--Joyce Carol Oates
Ingalls writes fables whose unadorned sentences belie their irreducible strangeness.--Lidija Haas"The Hallucinatory Realism of Rachel Ingalls" (03/04/2019)