Salon recommends

Lewis Carroll by way of Will Self and Zadie Smith and more of our favorite new books.


Salon Staff
July 16, 2002 2:09AM (UTC)

What we're reading, what we're liking

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland/Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll
These are, of course, books to be read over and over again, but they are also made slightly new in this creamy boxed set featuring Mervyn Peake's illustrations and introductions by Will Self (for "Wonderland") and Zadie Smith ("Looking Glass"). No one claims that Peake's drawings surpass Tenniel's originals, but they're witty and fluid enough to charm in their own right. He makes the characters lankier and more mobile; Tenniel's stolid Victorian Alice with her deep-set eyes and manly forehead becomes a changling nymphet, erotic in a way that Carroll himself would no doubt have found unsexy. Self's introduction is typically thesaurical, but contains the redeeming observation that the White Rabbit is "the avatar of all the animals children wish to ensnare," while Smith's is a sublime romp studded with sugar-plum insights and phrases.

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-- Laura Miller

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