Rachel Ingalls: Gaia Banks

Rachel Ingalls

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.

Binstead's Safari

Fiction by Rachel Ingalls

After getting a haircut in London and a few new outfits (“she bought two pairs of shoes and began to enjoy herself”), Millie, the neglected American wife of an academic pill, is transformed—and, upon arrival in Africa, falls into the perfect affair. Binstead’s Safari unfolds the fractured fairy tale of the rebirth of a drab, insecure woman as a fiercely alive, fearless beauty. “Life was too short to waste time trying to find excuses for not doing the things you really wanted to do,” Millie realizes, helping herself to love and joy.…
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Mrs. Caliban

Fiction by Rachel Ingalls

With a contribution by Rivka Galchen

In the quiet suburbs, while Dorothy is doing chores and waiting for her husband to come home from work, not in the least anticipating romance, she hears a strange radio announcement about a monster who has just escaped from the Institute for Oceanographic Research… Reviewers have compared Rachel Ingalls’s Mrs. Caliban to King Kong, Edgar Allan Poe’s stories, the films of David Lynch, Beauty and the Beast, The Wizard of Oz, E.…
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—Michele Leber, Booklist (starred)
Ingalls’ sly humor and lightness of touch keeps the reader off-guard as we grow increasingly worried about Larry’s fate. News reports portray him as a menace to people, but with Dorothy, we see him as solicitous and caring, a perfectly gentle creature. Merely reflecting on the story as I write brings back a pleasurable mix of the emotions I experienced during the reading, a sure sign of a great book.
Chicago Tribune
Ingalls writes fables whose unadorned sentences belie their irreducible strangeness…In her grim yet playful fashion, Ingalls is concerned with the rules and conventions by which societies are organized, the violent machinations by which they are maintained. Like a good tragedian, she tends to heap up corpses at the end of her tales, and even in her quieter examinations of familial bonds she leaves readers to wonder, of her spouses and siblings, who might push whom off a cliff.
—Lidija Haas, The New Yorker
Ms. Ingalls is an experienced writer of novels and stories, and her performances are immensely skillful, reminiscent of the best film thrillers.
—Ursula K. Le Guin
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