Book: Diana Evans - "The Wonder" - A Notting Hill novel

The plot of Diana Evans’s first novel, 26a, had its roots in her north London childhood and the suicide of her twin sister.

Her second, The Wonder, draws on another aspect of Evans’s experience. Before she turned to writing she was a dancer, and at the heart of The Wonder is The Midnight Ballet, an imaginary black dance company founded by a brilliant, troubled Jamaican dancer, Antoney Matheus, wrote the Telegraph book review.

Diana Evans was born in London and spent part of her childhood in Lagos, Nigeria. She studied Media Studies at the University of Sussex and was a dancer in the Brighton-based troupe Mashango before becoming a journalist and author.

The Wonder is not a new Novel, it is published in September 2009 and since August it is available in paperback.

Vintage books wrote about the novel: It’s carnival time! Diana Evans’s second novel The Wonder takes the reader on a dance through Notting Hill past and present.

We see Antoney Matheus and his mother arriving from Jamaica in 1958 to stay in a dim room on the corner of Portobello and Faraday Road; we watch Antoney take his first steps as a dancer to Baba Brooks, the Mighty Sparrow and James Brown in a house on Tavistock Crescent where the Marshall Brothers, from Trinidad, put on a regular Blues party; we see Antoney’s son Lucas wandering a prettified Portobello Road in the nineties trying to piece together his lost father’s life. Check out the sixties Carnival scene on p. 106: ‘There were all kinds of folks about. Whistle-blowing teenagers, spacy Mediterranean students in stripy tops, big-haired Jamaican girls in mini-dresses, old black men slurping pints outside the pubs, shopkeepers, policemen, open-shirted steel band skivers, a well-known barmaid in her famous leopard-print coat. There were fragments in this district of the Sahara Desert and the Irish Sea, the Panama Canal and the music box of Kingston, and the happy and terrible commotion that had developed from this was that you could find a good party as easily as you could a good fight.’

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