Title: The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories
Author: Angela Carter
In: The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories (Angela Carter)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Classics, Dark fantasy, Short story collections
5th sentence, 74th page: No response to my tentative rap on his door.
Angela Carter was a storytelling sorceress, the literary godmother of such contemporary masters of supernatural fiction as Neil Gaiman, David Mitchell, Audrey Niffenegger, J. K. Rowling, and Kelly Link, who introduces this edition of Carter’s most celebrated book, published for the seventy-fifth anniversary of her birth. In The Bloody Chamber—which includes the story that is the basis of Neil Jordan’s 1984 movie The Company of Wolves—Carter spins subversively dark and sensual versions of familiar fairy tales and legends like “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Bluebeard,” “Puss in Boots,” and “Beauty and the Beast,” giving them exhilarating new life in a style steeped in the romantic trappings of the gothic tradition.
I started reading this book over a year ago. And after the first three stories, I felt completely overwhelmed. Honestly, they are hard going. But, after having a very long break, I decided to return to the world of Angela Carter. And I don’t know if it’s that I was in a better frame of mind for it, or maybe my reading tastes have developed, but there is something about Carter’s lyrical writing style that made it almost impossible to put this down.
There is a way about Carter’s writing that not only flows beautifully, but completely turns everything on its head. Her retake on many familiar stories leaves hauntingly familiar tales that you can’t quite put your finger on. It’s eerie and haunting, and has definitely given me a lot to think about.
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