Sunday, 27 February 2011

The Double Life of Cora Parry by Angela McAllister: Feminist Oliver Twist with an Absinthe Finish

Pity Cora Parry, her adopted-mother is struck by lightning and turned to ash (Really? I mean I'll suspend my disbelief and kept reading but, really? Has this ever happened?). Cora ends up in London and is adopted as a thief's apprentice.
Cora is torn between what is right and surviving. unable to tell her new friends, a boy and his monkey, who work in a pawnshop the truth about her life Cora invents Carrie, an alter ego who is responsible for all the bad things she does.
The invention of Carrie puts a strain on Cora's mental state culminating in a rather strange final six chapters which makes me wonder if I drank some absinthe before reading them. It is weird.
But if I ignore the lightning strike of doom and weird ending  'The Double Life of Cora Parry" is lively and well paced with some really well drawn characters. The feeling of desperation and collapsing mental state the author develops in Cora are done very well. Maybe this is why the ending is so strange, Cora was just too deep into her problems to escape them in a happy ever after way that wasn't odd.

The double life of Corra Parry is out now for about a fiver.

Mark