The Pure Gold Baby by Margaret Drabble – review | Books | The GuardianRate this book. Jessica Speight, a young anthropology student in s London, is at the beginning of a promising academic career when an affair with her married professor turns her into a single mother. Anna is a pure gold baby with a delightful sunny nature. But as it becomes clear that Anna will not be a normal child, the book circles questions of responsibility, potential, even age, with Margaret Drabble's characteristic intelligence, sympathy, and wit. Drabble once wrote, "Family life itself, that safest, most traditional, most approved of female choices, is not a sanctuary; it is, perpetually, a dangerous place.
The Pure Gold Baby by Margaret Drabble – review
And yet a connection was made. Nevertheless I approached it with an open mind. There are things in my life of which she knows nothing, and she has her secrets too. They ate fusilli and farfalle and drank a bottle of San Pellegrino. They spoke of Steve Carter, who had retreated to the comfort of the Wendy House, but had found no comfort there, or thereafter.
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To what extent does the novel play with this idea of something that is both in the future and in the past? Is the idea of anticipating things that are not there a particularly maternal concern? Anna — the pure gold baby — has a very special relationship to the concept of time. Is this something the novel regards as a blessing or a curse for Anna herself and for those that care for her? Does prolepsis describe something we have all experienced at some point in our lives? As a technical device is it something you have noticed other writers use to foreshadow events in other novels, and can you think of specific examples you might like to discuss?
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