I discovered Angela Carter via the fantasy/horror film "The Company of Wolves," for which she wrote the screenplay, adapted from one of the short stories in "The Bloody Chamber." Since then I've read two of her novels and two books of short stories, and this one remains the best by far. All the stories are good, but the title one particularly so; it inspired me to spend $35 I didn't have in order to experience the taste of cointreau (the liqueur the heroine sipped after dinner with Bluebeard)...it was exotic, tropical, sweet-sour-bitter, with a strangely insinuating warmth...not unlike the prose itself. The vampire story is a perfect analogy of beautiful, rotting, slightly ridiculous old-world European romanticism coming to its denouement in the bleak light of modernism, appropriately timed to World War I, appropriately personified in an innocent (but just as doomed, and what does that tell us?) blond soldier. And I must especially praise "The Erl-King" -- it put me in mind, somehow, of a disillusioned Lady Chatterley creeping one last time to the hut of a mossy, malevolent Mellors, in a voluptuously violent autumnal reversal of the spring marriage of John Thomas and Lady Jane. In short, it's a mouthwatering book -- so evocative, so subtly disturbing, such texture and richness...and all the more memorable for the occasional touches of dark, edgy, cynical wit. Anne Rice is to cheap triple sec as Angela Carter is to cointreau. I'd kiss the late Ms. Carter's decaying feet if I could, and perhaps she'd appreciate that.
On hearing that the writing style of Tanith Lee, one of my favorite authors, had derived in part from that of Angela Carter, I hastened to find a good collection and explore the similarities. I read this book, and while I am not going to compare and contrast the two styles, I am going to rave about Angela Carter. In the collection "The Bloody Chamber" she reworks five familiar fairy tales as well as spinning myriad tales from the werewolf theme and a tragic love-story out of the vampire myth. Each of the stories has its own unique perspective that works both as a stylistic trick and as a function of the story, such as having Puss-in-Boots proudly recount his own exploits, or having Beauty lost to the Beast at a game of cards. The stories are written sensually, reveling in their lush usage of language; the opening of "The Erl-King" smells of rotted leaves in October, "The Lady of the House of Love" casts haunted shadows at the reader's feet. One or two read like deconstructions of familiar tales, such as the surreal "The Snow Child" or "The Werewolf," while others are the old stories, stripped to their framework and then refleshed with Angela Carter's rich prose. All are absorbing, seductive, to read; if words are food, then this is highly caloric chocolate of the finest quality. (The bittersweet tint only adds to the flavor.) Enough of my raving; read the book yourself. For my part, I will be scouring my library for more of Angela Carter's work. You can never get enough chocolate.
Meine Rezension bezieht sich auf genau dieses englischsprachige TB, aber ich rezensiere trotzdem mal auf Deutsch ;)
Miss Carter hat mit diesen Geschichten etwas geschafft, was viele Autoren immer wieder versuchen, und nicht immer erfolgreich: Die altbekannten Märchen von außen nach innen gekehrt, in ihnen Falltüren aufgerissen und die Schattenseiten an die Oberfläche gezerrt. Ihre Geschichten sind Schauermärchen für Erwachsene, düster und poetisch, oft originell und sehr bildgewaltig. Ihre sehr bildhafte Sprache zieht den Leser in ihren Bann, auch wenn man tiefenpsychologische Betrachtungen oder reinigende Emotionen wie Trauer, Angst oder Mitgefühl hier nicht vorfinden wird. Aber das ist gut. Denn diese Geschichten wollen vor allem eines: In eine magische Welt voller Märchengefahren entführen - und unterhalten.
Das Buch ist für nicht-lernwillige ;) mit nur Grundkenntnissen im Englischen nicht so gut geeignet.
Some books change your life. This one changed mine. Erotic, bloody, dark, mysterious, this collection of retold fairy tales is not for children. Carter knew her myth, and she certainly knew how to turn a finely tuned phrase. She IS the most original writer I know, someone who saw what others could not see and was able to put the visions down on paper in a style truly her own. I love this book. I read it all the time. And each time I read it, I wonder what the world has missed with Carter's death. A remarkable piece of literature not to be ignored. Where's that honorary Booker?
Only after reading some of Carter's novels did I take a stab at this particular collection of stories. Of course, I expected her disturbingly-casual blend of fairy tale and contemporary setting, Christian and Pagan lore...and all the blood and gore that go with it. But I was completely taken by how I--my stomach, really--reacted to some of the passages in this book: my stomach literally "knotted up" and did somersaults at some instances (beginning with Carter's description of the Bluebeard's "bloody chamber," all the way through her werewolf sequence). In this collection, you'll find virgins fetishized and explicitly eroticized by beasts, and distraight daughters in full arms against their money-hungry fathers...all of this situated on a bloody canvas of pornographic imagery and poetic language. (If you want worse, by the way, pick up Bataille or Sade.) "The Bloody Chamber" continually provokes emotional, intellectual reactions of me, so I'm convinced it's to be considered a masterpiece. --By far, her most inventive work.
This is one of the books that makes me wish I could forget the contents right after reading it, so that I can have the fun of dicovering, reading and enjoying it anew, again and again. A number of fairytales are retold, among them Puss in Boots, Little Red Riding Hood, Beauty and the Beast and Bluebeard. Only that this is far more than a simple retelling, the stories are filled with new aspects and ideas, with suspense, humour and underlying erotic. Although there ist no hint of preaching feminism, the female characters receive a new strength and meaning. But all the time the original ideas of the fairy tales, the importance of resourcefullness, courage, love, companionship and truthfullness, are neither lost nor shoved down the readers throat. This book is an absolut treasure, a joy from the first to the last page. (Dies ist eine Amazon.de an der Uni-Studentenrezension.)
This is a must for the readers who are wanting to be intriged by the transformation of childhood fairytales converted to stories of sexual realisation, and how women were living in a male dominated society. Very addictive and I have greatly enjoyed reading whilst studying for my English degree!
Carter manages to rewrite some well known fairy tales out of an emancipatory point ot view: not only men but also women should be allowed to enjoy a good sexlife. She undermines not only the patriarchal society but also several conventionally accepted binary opposites as human- animal, fact-fiction,... Her stories explore the marginal, the twilight.
Rich writing and evocative imagery bring this collection of short stories into a magical realm all its own. Tales like Beauty and the Beast, Bluebeard, and others are virtually engorged by Carter with heat, poetry, and imagination. It's great writing! Good gift for your favorite vampire fanatic, a favorite with college students.
Although I have read only the first story, the bloody chamber, I have to say it is a fantastic read with lots of suspense and heart-pounding horror. The story is well-written and builds to an exciting climax. The Bloody Chamber is a prime example of how a short story ought to be written.