Magic and Fate

Magic and Fate

(1996) Pan

‘Combines farcical unreality with worldly-wise accuracy… outrageousness with shrewd observation.’ Sunday Times

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This was a wonderfully enjoyable novel to write – which makes it unusual. My aim was to keep a light fantastic surface and I stuck to it, even though there is a much darker underside. It all starts when super model Sissie Slipper slips on the Paris catwalks and crashes down in a humiliating, ungainly lump. She also looses her tooth. (Incidentally, I had already written this scene when Naomi Campbell famously took a dive off the catwalks which is yet another example of life following art.) It’s subtitled Being The Not Quite Believable Adventures of Sissie Slipper and pays homage to those great early novels I enjoyed so much such as Tom Jones by Thomas Fielding.

It features a sinister character called The Author who follows Sissie on her travels as she searches round the world for the perfect pearly tooth and a perfect pink hat for her mother. In fact the story turns out to have a lot to do with her mother and a murky past. Looking back, I see it got some very good reviews. A pity I’ve never written another novel like it.

‘Billington once again proves herself an accomplished storyteller’ Guardian

‘The more absurd this novel becomes the better… Billington combines farcical unreality with worldly-wise accuracy… outrageousness with shrewd observation… to fine satirical effect’ Sunday Times

‘An unexpected contemporary fairy tale … A great read’ Times Educational Supplement

Suggested reading: The Space Between, Beautiful

The Space Between Beautiful