The strongest emotions in her work are elicited by the prospect of a leap into the unknown, the event that could not be predicted or controlled.
Unlike many writers shaped by the upheaval of the 1960s, Carter never disavowed the politics of that period or treated them as a temporary madness; she remained committed, throughout her life, to the possibility of radical change.
At the end of her second book, , the allure of remaking oneself remained a constant throughout her life.
The spell isn’t broken until the story’s final pages.
Self-enclosed and painfully serious, he was described by Carter after they first met as a “simple, artsy Soho fifties beatnik”; one of her friends called him “an amiable teddy bear.” In her later years, Carter tended to downplay the importance of the marriage (she claimed to have had “more meaningful relationships with people I’ve sat next to on aeroplanes”), but Gordon makes it clear that Paul influenced her considerably.
What he offered wasn’t just an escape from her mother, but a gateway to the counterculture.
She cultivated a taste for avant-garde jazz—another thing for her mother to hate—and began dating a man named Paul Carter, a 27-year-old industrial chemist moonlighting as a clerk at a cult record store.
Their relationship might have unfolded differently if he hadn’t insisted that they wait to have sex until they were engaged; as it happened, they were married by the time she was 20.