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Still She Haunts Me

3.37  ·  Rating Details ·  362 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was a shy Oxford mathematician, reverend, and pioneering photographer. Under the pen name Lewis Carroll he wrote two stunning classics that liberated children’s literature from the constraints of Victorian moralism. But the exact nature of his relationship with Alice Liddell, daughter of the dean of his college, and the young girl who was his muse ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published October 1st 2002 by Delta (first published 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Aug 16, 2014 Janet rated it did not like it
The title is a line from one of the 'Alice in Wonderland' poems & the book claims to be "A Novel of Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell". I have always loved the Alice books - I've read Wonderland countless times & I'd read that this was a good book about Charles Dodgson & the girl many think was his Alice. I knew this was a fictionalized story of their relationship based on Dodgson's letters & diaries but in truth it seems based on rumor & lurid speculation. Yes, there were some ...more
Jan 31, 2011 Brittany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I know it was actually about Carol Lewis being a little 'informal', I guess to put it politely, with a little girl, but for some reason the story was just endearing and rather sad. It was almost as if he wanted to understand her mind, and wanted to be a part of what he thought a child's mind would be like, but she wouldn't give it to him. I think it started to make him obsess about her, although this book is rather tame and didn't really allude to dastardly deeds between the two. For some reason ...more
Mar 19, 2015 Tamsyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourites
I've been thinking recently I need to read this book again as I really enjoyed it the first time. It's strange reading about such an iconic writer and knowing the story of Alice in Wonderland so well and then this book changed my view of Lewis Carroll entirely and made me look at the story of Alice from a whole new perspective.
Dec 16, 2010 Jenn rated it did not like it
I know it's a fiction, but so many facts are wrong. Easily established facts like how many children were in Carroll's family and other silly twists of fact that weren't relevant to the story so why even go there? And the ending...oh the ending what do I say...I just don't like the perpetuation of the thought that Carroll is a perv. It can't be proven that he was. And while his behavior may have been odd by our standards (or others), no one really knows what was going on in his head and it's ...more
May 23, 2012 Rachael rated it really liked it
Where shall I begin? I have witnessed Katie Roiphe's talent for weaving magic into her prose. The entire book is filled with lyricism and I loved every minute of it. I can only imagine the beauty she would present us with in a volume of poetry.

Riophe successfully walks the line of raising our curiosity and skirting the implications of such a relationship between Carroll and Alice. Intriguing to say the least.

I have decided to do my due diligence and read more biographical material on Carroll an
Oct 05, 2011 Danielle rated it really liked it
This book was absorbing from beginning to end. I found it so engrossing that I read it in one sitting. I did wonder a lot about the historical accuracy of what happens in this book since a Children's Lit course I took as an undergrad told a different story about Dodgson and the Lidell's but, as Roiphe pounts out in her afterward, the only people who really know what happened between these people are dead. So we can speculate all we want and we'll still never know.

Roiphe definitely did her resear
Jul 23, 2009 Jacki rated it really liked it
I thought that this book did all the things that historical fiction is supposed to do: make you curious about the actual story, personalize history, entertain, and bring up questions...

I knew the basics of the Alice in Wonderland story- that it was written for a family friend and yadda yadda.

Had no idea that Lewis Carroll was a creeper.

I loved how this book was written. It flowed well and I couldn't put it down. I liked knowing from the get-go that there was going to be a falling out, because t
Oct 24, 2011 Pam rated it did not like it
Disappointing. Not because Ms. Roiphe can't tell a good story, because she can. I just grew tired of the story she told. I'm a fan of history, but I think the made up tale of the uncomfortable situations between Dodgson and Alice...and then the even more uncomfortable climax - along with the addition of many unnecessary characters got to be a bit too much for me. And in the end...I still really don't feel like I knew any more about Charles Dodgson other than the fact that he had a speech ...more
Cathy Day
Jun 24, 2008 Cathy Day rated it really liked it
This book reminded me very much of Christopher Bram's FATHER OF FRANKENSTEIN (which was adapted into the film GODS AND MONSTERS with Ian McKellan and Brendan Fraser). Both books revolve around "real" people and "real" events that cannot be fully known or explained. Why did James Whale, director of Frankenstein, end up dead in his LA pool? Why did Alice Liddell's family end their friendship with Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll)? Fiction fills in those historical gaps. Roiphe's meticulous research ...more
Mar 19, 2015 Eva rated it liked it
Interesting speculative fiction about Lewis Carroll. It goes into his relationship with Alice Liddell, the supposed muse for the Alice in Wonderland.

From the writing style, it's obvious that Katie Roiphe is an English PhD. I'm having some difficulty deciding whether her references to contemporary authors are clever or gratuituous. As an English major myself, a lot of this book felt like intellectual wanking.

I would have given this four stars, but it gets creepy in the last few chapters. Roiphe h
Dec 16, 2008 Brianna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Brianna by: ayrdaomei
He realized that time moved slower for him than for his seven-year-old sister Elizabeth, because each minute that passed was a greater proportion of his life than hers. This thought nagged at him, made him anxious, since time was supposed to be the same for everyone, the absolute unit of measurement upon which everyone could agree, five minutes, a half hour, but it wasn't. Time bent and swayed depending on who you were.

I honestly think a well-written story is worth more than an interesting plotl
Elizabeth Mahler
Mar 18, 2008 Elizabeth Mahler rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone wanting a good dark, emotional read.
Recommended to Elizabeth by: picked it up at random!
the title describes this book well.....this book haunts me.

this is a telling of Lewis Carroll, née Charles Dogdgson, & his
relationship with the real Alice that we all know & love from her venture through Wonderland. at first innocent by all outward appearances, Carroll's obsession deepens & nearly destroys him.

the characters are so well written in this book, that upon my first reading (i read my favorites many times over) i felt Alice's confusion & her mother's rage & disgus
Elizabeth Wallace
Oct 19, 2008 Elizabeth Wallace rated it really liked it
The FACTS are this: Lewis Carroll befriended a young girl, Alice Liddell, and she became the inspiration for "Alice in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." And when she turned eleven her family sent him a letter, telling him they didn't want him to see her any more. Any pages from that time that might have explained what happened were ripped out of his diary.

Those are the facts. Katie Roiphe took those facts and other little tidbits from Alice and Lewis' lives, and wrote a story that COU
Tara Lynn
Dec 11, 2008 Tara Lynn rated it liked it
I adored Lewis Caroll's Through the Looking Glass when I was younger, and this fictional story, which tries to draw insight into the nature of his relationship with Alice is extremely interesting. Although I found some passages to be awkwardly written, it's a great theory to mull over. The book basically stipulates an semi-erotic relationship on the part of Caroll towards young Alice. However, I'd be interested to learn more about the man himself, and perhaps see the photographs in question, as ...more
Mar 02, 2013 Martina rated it really liked it
Nicely written, and I recommend it - if you can understand and accept the fact that this is published fanfiction. There are fragments of known truth, the rest is based upon speculation (it is, after all, a NOVEL and not a biography). That said, it's a very good piece of fanfiction. Most of the characters are well written (considering the book is quite thin), and it's easy to sympathize with the main character, Charles.

Saving the fact that I'm slightly opposed to fanfiction featuring real people
Apr 09, 2011 Katie rated it did not like it
Roiphe's writing was alright; otherwise, the novel was pretty terrible and not worth the time it takes to read it. It's basically another version of the Alice Liddell/Lewis Carroll story, but Roiphe sensationalizes it quite a bit, causing Carroll to come across as more of a pedophile than anything else. If you're a reader that has done research and/or any previous reading about Lewis Carroll's relationship with the Liddell family, then you know that Roiphe's portrayal of him is simply not ...more
Jul 31, 2010 Beth_Adele rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourites
I found this book in a 50cent throw out bin (I kid you not!)
Whilst I am not a fan of Roiphe's NYT contributions, I adored this book.
She quite remarkably wrote beautifully and lyrically of a topic that has a tremendous amount of cringe factor to it. Though really, by the time you realise where she is going with her fictionalised version of events, you are far too wrapped up in the story to worry about it.
Despite the creep factor, long time fans of the fictional Alice and her creator will love
Jan 05, 2010 Jenn rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010books
This is a fictional story about Lewis Carroll (he wrote Alice in Wonderland) and the young Alice Liddell who is said to be his muse. The book is not so much a plotted story as a chronlogical listing of various thoughts, musings, journal entries, letters, and on occasion, anecdotes about events that happened during the 7 or so years that Dodgson (Carroll) spent with The Liddell girls. I had a hard time staying focused on the story and it was very difficult to believe considering the amount of ...more
Dec 05, 2012 Jessica rated it it was ok

That about sums up how I feel about this book.

Some of the writing was very fine, but the story itself was a bit lacking. In the beginning I thought it had potential, but ended up being rather underwhelming and kind of sordid. It dwelt too much on the seedy points of speculation on the relationship between Lewis Carroll and the girl who was his muse for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass.
Hedgehogs 4eva
Aug 16, 2015 Hedgehogs 4eva rated it liked it
I read this years and years ago, and I still remember parts of it vividly - the writing is brutal and beautiful and intensely physical; there are these descriptions of photography in which the body on film and the corporeal body seem to transmute into one another in an odd, stunningly well-written way. it's remarkable. plot-wise, though, I found the final third underwhelming, and it never quite captured the haunting tenor of the title and cover, which I thought were perfect. But for those who ...more
Sarah Crawford
Feb 14, 2016 Sarah Crawford rated it really liked it
This is a fictional book that speculates on just what happened to cause the split between Dodgson/Carroll and the Liddell family. The author comes up with a plausible explanation for the cause. There is also no doubt left about his feelings for Alice and the strong possibility that Alice had feelings for him.

She also has a plausible explanation for the missing pages in his diaries.

The book reads very well and is interesting throughout.
bay reads books nu uh, does so huh

like a dreamworld fantasy that dared to intermingle with reality and fiction, i found this book to be transporting and all-the-while, calmly escalating to an eerie tone which climaxed in a very british sort of ending.

interesting use of multiple narrators. while of course the focus and undertone was on the behind-the-scenesness of a well-known story, i still enjoyed very much the detailed fetishization of photographic equipment and technique.

Aug 23, 2007 Ivan rated it really liked it
After reading this I felt compelled to find out as much as I could about Charles Dodgson and Alice Liddell, and I particularly felt the need to SEE Dodgson's photographs of Alice to better understand what all the controversy was about. There is A LOT to be read in those pictures. Alice In Wonderland will never quite seem the same again....
Carolyn Brandt
You know...I have wanted to read this book wince college. Something about a man fascinated by a child intrigued me. Yes, I know it was fiction, but still, I wanted to read it. I was disappointed. Basically, it's predicatable (the family doesn't want him coming around anymore...shocker!). So, yes, I was disappointed, but at least I tried!
Cyn Ical
Feb 21, 2015 Cyn Ical rated it really liked it
Shelves: tbr-2015, favorites
A vividly detailed and imaginative account of the relationship between Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) and Alice Liddell. Roiphe blends fact and fiction seamlessly as she spins the tale of the shy, stammering, but brilliant Dodgson and his maelstrom waif of a muse that encompasses all that is Alice.
Jan 30, 2008 Howard rated it it was amazing
Keep in mind this novel is a work of fiction and while it may contain some fact, it is fiction that ties it together in the marvelous way that will make the reader wonder; is this what really happened?

Read for yourself and become enchanted or haunted by the words so marvelously displayed.

Really worth the read.
Aug 17, 2009 Trish rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fictionalized account of the relationship between Charles Dodgson and Alice Liddell -- that's "Lewis Carroll" and *the* Alice. Roiphe's prose is lovely--poetic and persuasive.

This was my second reading, and while it holds up as a novel, my primary reaction is a desire to read more about Dodgson. I re-read Alice and Looking-glass and checked out a biography.
Dec 19, 2011 Diana rated it liked it
I liked the dreamy, odd way this was written. I liked that each character had a voice, but there was no ridiculous, indulgent conversation. She got right to the point and told the story. I know lots of people are bothered that Lewis Carroll was made to seem like a pedophile, but Roiphe is not taking that much artistic license. After doing some research, I rather concur.
Jul 05, 2009 Bridget rated it it was amazing
Roiphe does such an amazing job of making the reader feel like they are actually reading Dodgson's words it's difficult to remember that the story is fiction. I'm torn between deciding if I am repulsed by Dodgson, empathetic towards him or sympathetic for him, but it helps me to realize that sometimes we don't need to have an answer. Wonderful book!
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Katie Roiphe is the author of the non-fiction works The Morning After: Fear, Sex and Feminism (1994) and Last Night in Paradise: Sex and Morals at the Century's End (1997). Her novel Still She Haunts Me is an empathetic imagining of the relationship between Charles Dodgson (known as Lewis Carroll) and Alice Liddell, the real-life model for Dodgson's Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. She holds a ...more
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“Everything that flickered could be made permanent. That was what drew him to photography, what made every painstaking step worth it: the permanence of the image. That was what fascinated him, the working against time...” 7 likes
“Why do you need to turn everything on its head, Charles”, he used to ask him, half annoyed and half wondering, “isn't the world beautiful and harmonious as it is?” 0 likes
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