The Erl-King by Angela Carter


The Erl-KingTitle: The Erl-King
Author: Angela Carter
In: The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories (Angela Carter)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: ClassicsFeminism
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Vintage
Year: 1979
5th sentence, 74th page: The woods enclose and then enclose again, like a system of Chinese boxes opening one into another; the intimate perspectives of the wood changed endlessly around the interloper, the imaginary traveller walking towards an invented distance that perpetually receded before me.

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A maiden wanders into the woods and is seduced by the sinister Erl-King, a seeming personification of the forest itself. However, she eventually realizes his plans and takes action…


I never know what to expect when I open the page on a new Angela Carter story. It always has a beautifully lilting language. Albeit, one that is a little difficult to follow and understand. And The Erl-King is no different. His slow destruction of the woman he loves is told in the most poetic and enchanting of ways. Until the strongly twisted ending that is.

I thoroughly enjoy reading Carter’s works, but they are a little hard going. And there are so many nuances throughout the words that no matter how many times I read this story, I think that I will find new points that jump out. There is such a strong message of strength beyond love that I melted a little inside. And then covered my mouth in shock at the incredibly twisted ending.

 <- Puss-in-Boots Review The Snow Child Review ->
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3 thoughts on “The Erl-King by Angela Carter

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