John Updike

A lost-and-found surrealist treasure: 'Mrs. Caliban' by Rachel Ingalls

A lost-and-found surrealist treasure: 'Mrs. Caliban' by Rachel Ingalls

“Mrs. Caliban” by Rachel Ingalls is an unusual book with an unusual publication history. First published in 1982, the slim surrealist masterpiece is the story of a romance between a lonely housewife and (stick with me here) an amphibious humanoid named Larry. It was Ingalls’ third book of fiction and, like the two that preceded it, at first almost entirely ignored.

“Practically zilch,” she said herself, describing both its commercial and critical reception in a 1986 profile that ran in this newspaper under the headline “Obscure U.S. Author Begins Storybook Life.” The “storybook”...

EDITION: California | U.S. & World
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