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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 birthIn The Bloody Chamber which includes the story that is the basis of Neil Jordan smovie 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


10 thoughts on “The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories

  1. Bill Kerwin Bill Kerwin says:

    Angela Carter reveals the dark heart of the fairy story in these memorably quirky versions She is able to intensify the mythic core of each of these tales, not by stripping them down to their essentials the obvious way but by using eccentric, illuminative detail expressed in individualistic prose Although these versions could be described as feminist and anti patriarchal, such labels are too limiting for the fierce independence of Carter s intelligence She is a writer who never shrinks from Angela Carter reveals the dark heart of the fairy story in these memorably quirky versions She is able to intensify the mythic core of each of these tales, not by stripping them down to their essentials the obvious way but by using eccentric, illuminative detail expressed in individualistic prose Although these versions could be described as feminist and anti patriarchal, such labels are too limiting for the fierce independence of Carter s intelligence She is a writer who never shrinks from acknowledging the transformative power of sexual passion even if the object of that passion be unworthy or evil, even if the passion itself be dark and destructive It is her frankness, her clarity and her art not the adherence to any philosophical position that make these tales so liberating, so powerful, such flawless examples of craftsmanship and style


  2. Amalia Gavea Amalia Gavea says:

    My father lost me to The Beast at cards A recent discussion with Konstantin one of my best friends in Goodreads prompted me to read this collection a little sooner than I had planned And it was an utterly fascinating experience I knew I was going to love it and my expectations were justifiably high 10 exceptional short stories paying homage to classic fairy tales and especially to Charles Perrault From Bluebeard and The Beauty and the Beast to Puss in Boots and The SnoMy father lost me to The Beast at cards A recent discussion with Konstantin one of my best friends in Goodreads prompted me to read this collection a little sooner than I had planned And it was an utterly fascinating experience I knew I was going to love it and my expectations were justifiably high 10 exceptional short stories paying homage to classic fairy tales and especially to Charles Perrault From Bluebeard and The Beauty and the Beast to Puss in Boots and The Snow Child written in a unique, sensual, dark languageThe Bloody ChamberIn my opinion, the jewel of the collection This is a story based on Bluebeard , one of my favourite fairy tales because I m weird and I like it Seriously, though, this is a beautiful showcase of Carter s immense talent She inserts elements from the dawning of Gothic Fiction and crafts a perfect story The legend of Dracula, Carmilla, the Iron Maiden As a young woman, who finds herself amidst the journey of marriage to a strange count, discovers sexual liberation, perversion and death I loved the language in this one, full of underlying sensuality and the blurred line between pleasure and despairThe Courtship of Mr LyonA story based on Beauty and the Beast Carter kept the most well known features of the tale intact Sometimes, the best retellings are the ones that stay close to the original source and this was definitely the case hereThe Tiger s BrideThe second story based on Beauty and the Beast A young woman of aristocratic origin travels from Russia to Italy The Beast becomes a tiger in a tale full of weird twists that make the ending shocking and powerful Carter shows that finding your identity is essential for both sexes and the descriptions are poetic and vivid A story of winter and springPuss in BootsA tale based on the story by Giovanni Francesco Straparola Puss in Boots had never been among my favourite fairy tales but Carter manages to combine it with Rossini s Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Figaro is turned into a genius, cynic and all around spectacular feline An entertaining story that reads like a true opera buffaThe Erl KingReminiscent of Goethe, the Grimm brothers and the legend of the King of Fairies in Scandinavian folklore The tale starts with a beautiful description of an autumnal forest, haunting and colourful, full of smells and visions It is the most sexually charged tale of the collection with beautiful erotic descriptions and a constant battle between innocence and awareness Love isn t a blinding force in this story The maiden doesn t saintly surrender to her fate She changes it and prevailsThe Snow ChildThere are many versions of this fairy tale Carter chooses the most shocking, violent, dark variant, a twisted vision of a tormented Snow White It is a short tale that strikes at the heart with its dark themes of necrophilia, abuse and lethal jealousyThe Lady of the House of Love A girl who is both death and the maidenCarter combines the tale of The Sleeping Beauty , the legend of Elizabeth Bathory and the tale of Dracula to create a story set in the Carpathian region during the turn of the previous century that is nothing short of a masterpieceThe WerewolfIt makes me sad that in our current times, books of dubious to put it mildly quality have transformed such haunting and fascinating creatures into a fad of a horrible pop culture Thankfully, writers like Carter do not refuse them the position that centuries of lore have granted to these tortured creatures of the night A tale based on Little Red Riding Hood , enriched with folklore from Walpurgisnacht and with an interesting heroine of dubious motivesThe Company of Wolves The wolfsong is the sound of the rending you will suffer, in itself a murderingA second story based on Little Red Riding Hood The wolf is the protagonist The beauty, the agility, the danger Carter makes use of the legends and fables about the werewolf juxtaposed with the innocence of the children and the allure of the forbidden A story that is open to many interpretationsWolf AliceThis is the third story based on Little Red Riding Hood and the one fully demonstrating society s obsession to have us all the same, denying us the right to be what we want to be A young woman defies religious and social rules and discovers that compassion and companionship are sometimes waiting where we least expect them.The stories are rich in visual scenes, faithful to the spirit of their original sources and composed of themes that are difficult and demanding Carter speaks of female emancipation, sexual liberation, the heavy chains of patriarchy and society s expectations of women Carter defies the stereotypes and clearly demonstrates the desire for the identity of the heroine who saves herself instead of waiting for the Knight Even when she falters, it s by her own choice and she accepts the consequences What are the canonical fairy tales, in any case Didactic parables of the notion that transgressions turn people into monsters Anything that doesn t meet the common expectations of appearance and behavior is considered demonic But we, as women, don t need to read tales to discover there are monsters in the world We ve seen them We have been facing them for centuries We still fight against them We always willIt is my sincerest conviction that fairy tales, especially retellings such as these, can revealabout the human nature than any serious novel or philosophical work Carter s tales couldn t have beenmeaningful,relevant to our current times, mirroring issues that concern us constantly That is if we are willing to look deeper and search for them These tales are written in beautiful language but this is merely a technical issue What matters is what they try to tell us and show us This is beyond labels such as Horror or Gothic or Literary Fiction It is about ourselves and our identitiesThe lamb must learn to run with the tigers My reviews can also be found on


  3. Sean Barrs Sean Barrs says:

    Halloween re read Angela Carter is an absolute masterful writer She takes the basic narrative of fairy tales and infuses them will blood, death and horror She s a genius at what she does.She s a great story teller She transports the stories to the confines of modern society and considers real issues such as the representation of women, the limitations of gender and the restrictions of stories themselves.Her prose is captivating, near on enchanting As soon as I began reading the first sto Halloween re read Angela Carter is an absolute masterful writer She takes the basic narrative of fairy tales and infuses them will blood, death and horror She s a genius at what she does.She s a great story teller She transports the stories to the confines of modern society and considers real issues such as the representation of women, the limitations of gender and the restrictions of stories themselves.Her prose is captivating, near on enchanting As soon as I began reading the first story in here, I was hooked on her style She reminds me of Margaret Attwood The two have a way of presenting such issues in a remarkably frank way, and better yet the stories themselves, the actual plot rather than the allegories, are immensely entertaining This is the kind of literature I love a suspense filled vessel of storytelling that is full of dark meanings She s a drastically under read writer when you consider her creative talent I couldn t recommend her workhighly, especially today


  4. Ferdy Ferdy says:

    SpoilersI had high expectations for this, Carter s fairy tale retellings are meant to be well known for being feminist, gothic, and original For the most part, I didn t feel that was true Having a few heroines with sexual agency didn t magically make them feminist or ground breaking, it takes a lotthan that to modernise a fairy tale There were only a couple of them that I actually found somewhat enjoyable, the rest were rubbish.Hated the writing, it was convoluted, complicated, and nons SpoilersI had high expectations for this, Carter s fairy tale retellings are meant to be well known for being feminist, gothic, and original For the most part, I didn t feel that was true Having a few heroines with sexual agency didn t magically make them feminist or ground breaking, it takes a lotthan that to modernise a fairy tale There were only a couple of them that I actually found somewhat enjoyable, the rest were rubbish.Hated the writing, it was convoluted, complicated, and nonsensical There were a number of times I got lost as to what the hell was going on and had to keep re reading sentences over and over to get some clarity Also, some sentences readlike paragraphs than sentences, they never bloody ended The stories THE BLOODY CHAMBER.Quite liked this, but mostly because of the ending where the heroine s mum kills Bluebeard and saves her daughter from death Other than that it was a paint by numbers retelling of Bluebeard THE COURTSHIP OF MR LYON So predictable and cheesy It was a run of the mill Beauty and the Beast retelling complete with flat characters, insta love, and zero depth THE TIGER S BRIDE Another Beauty and the Beast retelling This time Beauty ends up with the Beast because her dad gambles her off like property At the end Beauty turns herself into a beast too so she can be with a guy who forced her to live with him just so he could see her naked Ugh.PUSS IN BOOTS A shallow manslut gets his cat Puss to hook him up with the rich beautiful virgin he fell in insta love with after seeing her just the once Puss does so, and man gets to shag said virgin, who also happens to be married Puss and the man kill the husband and get to settle down with their virginal women after years of shagging around Yea, it was just a tropey mess and the female characters were rubbish THE ERL KING Only liked the very end of this when the foolish love struck heroine plots to save herself and kill the Erl king, everything else was weird and rubbish THE SNOW CHILD The worst story of the lot, a married Count wishes for a girl as white as snow, red as blood, and black as raven His wish comes true, but his wife is jealous of the magic girl and tries to kill her instead of helping her , girl gets killed by a rose, and husband rapes her dead body And the wife seems to be cool with her husband raping dead bodies Ugh, hated it.THE LADY OF THE HOUSE OF LOVE This was the most interesting of all the stories Liked the gothic undertones and how atmospheric it was But it readlike a paranormal vampire story than a fairy tale THE WEREWOLF I didn t like the girl in this happily causing her werewolf granny s death just so she could inherit her house Where s the feminism in that THE COMPANY OF WOLVES Another story with a girl causing her grandma s death, this time so she can sex up a werewolf guy Ugh, what s with all these female characters being killed by other female characters and dying in horrible ways WOLF ALICE.Weird Girl thinks she s a wolf, then kind of realises she s not, and then she thinks she s a wolf again Yea, didn t like it.There were only two stories The Bloody Chamber and The Lady of the House of Love in the collection that I somewhat enjoyed The rest were disappointing, they were either predictable or tropey or plain weird and not in a good way Also, apart from The Bloody Chamber, I didn t find any of the retellings to be feminist in any way I don t know why they ve been praised for their feminism when there was actually very little feminism in them, if anything they were sexist what with most of the female characters actions being controlled influenced by men in some way or another Also, the writing was rubbish


  5. Ellen Ellen says:

    Hey there Little Red Riding Hood,You sure are looking good.You re everything a big bad wolf could want.Listen to me I don t think little big girls shouldGo walking in these spooky old woods alone Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, 1962In The Bloody Chamber, Angela Carter s uses a decidedly feminist slant to re tell familiar myths and stories The Company of Wolves, for example, provides a point by point rebuttal of the myths embedded in themodern versions of Little Red Riding Hood Inter Hey there Little Red Riding Hood,You sure are looking good.You re everything a big bad wolf could want.Listen to me I don t think little big girls shouldGo walking in these spooky old woods alone Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, 1962In The Bloody Chamber, Angela Carter s uses a decidedly feminist slant to re tell familiar myths and stories The Company of Wolves, for example, provides a point by point rebuttal of the myths embedded in themodern versions of Little Red Riding Hood Interestingly, the earliest versions of the fairy tale were primarily oral and farrisqu These versions included sexual elements such as the wolf actually a werewolf in the oldest versions telling Red Riding Hood to throw her clothes, one by one, into a fire Leeming and Sader 391 Further in these early versions Red Riding Hood tricks the wolf by pretending that she needs to go outside to relieve herself Once outside, Red Riding Hood quickly removes the rope attached to her, ties it to a tree, and escapes Bushi In these original versions, Red Riding Hood outwits the fox, and the sexual overtones are explicit By the time Charles Perrault wrote his version in 1697, the story had been sanitized into a lesson on young girls morality In Perrault s version, the story serves to warn young girls about the threat men pose to their sexual innocence, but does not include the mother s warning to stay on the path, that appears in most later versions such as that of Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm in 1812 Instead, Perrault ends his tale with an overt moral warning Young ladies in particular, well bred and attractive young ladies should not be beguiled by men s wolfish charm 3 Jacob and Wilhelm Grimms version originally called Little Red Cap , farfamiliar to American and English audiences than that of Perrault, casts Little Red Riding Hood as a younger girl i.e., evenvulnerable and begins with the famous warning W alk nicely and quietly and do not run off the path Predictably, Little Red Riding Hood forgets her mother s warning, strays off the path, and gets deeper and deeper into the wood Once in the woods, Little Red Riding Hood s troubles begin Ultimately, a hunter, who just happens to be passing by, saves her.Of most significance is the decided shift the fairy tale has undergone through time In the original versions, Little Red Riding Hood saves herself and is never gulled by the wolf In versions dating from the seventeenth century onward, the girl strays from the path, actually believes the wolf might really be granny, and is saved by a huntsman Further, in the Grimms version and its modern variations, Red Riding Hood s comment at the end of the story demonstrates that she has learned her lesson As long as I live, I will never by myself leave the path, to run into the wood, when my mother has forbidden me to do so However, the fairy tale s other messages to young women areembedded anddestructive We are easily distracted and disobedient we are not safe alone in the woods traveling off the beaten path we are fairly stupid we get ourselves in trouble and we need to be rescued by a man In contrast, Angela Carter s short story, The Company of Wolves, restores the tale s original elements such as the overt sexuality and a heroine who is resourceful rather than helpless but adds a feminist perspective Carter s heroine is strong minded, packs a carving knife in her basket of goodies, and is powerful because of her virginity She stands and moves within the invisible pentacle of her own virginity She is an unbroken egg she is a sealed vessel she has inside her a magic space she is a closed system she does not know how to shiver She has her knife and she is afraid of nothing Further, in Carter s version, Red Riding Hood does not just protect herself, but controls the game The seduction scene plays out like a modern slasher movie As the girl at the wolf s bidding removes each item of clothing and ostensibly becomesandvulnerable, we begin to see her as a victim Just as we become lulled by the predictable script in motion, the girl, now completely naked, responds to the wolf s threat, All the better to eat you with, by bursting into laughter S he knew she was nobody s meat Even given the background Carter provides in the story s beginning, the scene startles We knew the girl was strong, independent, and armed However, the pattern of woman alone traveling alone helpless alone victim is so embedded in our consciousness that we are caught off guard And, that is precisely Carter s point Adapted from a prior publication


  6. Cecily Cecily says:

    An extraordinarily sensual, symbol rich, collection of very adult tales of enchantment, focusing on female protagonists Some are dirtier versions of the familiar, some are barely recognisable beyond title and names, and a couple were unknown to me The Lyon and Tiger stories are variants of each other, and it ends with three relating to wolves, two of which are versions of Little Red Riding Hood.There is blood in the title, and there are many allusions to literal and metaphorical blood mainly An extraordinarily sensual, symbol rich, collection of very adult tales of enchantment, focusing on female protagonists Some are dirtier versions of the familiar, some are barely recognisable beyond title and names, and a couple were unknown to me The Lyon and Tiger stories are variants of each other, and it ends with three relating to wolves, two of which are versions of Little Red Riding Hood.There is blood in the title, and there are many allusions to literal and metaphorical blood mainly in relation to sacrificial virgins puberty, menstruation, sex and flowers sometimes both, as a deflowered bride ponders The lilies I always associate with him that are white And stain you Power and betrayal are also major themes, aided by the delusion of disguise different skins, and shedding thereof and hence loss of inhibitions and innocence Love often equates to death of some kind It s a feast for all the senses, though it doesn t always leave a pleasant taste However, Carter is a feminist at heart, and this is reflected in many of the tales having female narrators, along with the way she twists and subverts the reader s expectations.The Bloody ChamberThe longest story is that of Bluebeard, which was a partial inspiration for Jane Eyre see my review HERE , but here is set in modern ish times A much married man takes a new, young, innocent wife She leaves her mother and goes Into marriage, into exile , despite some sinister signs dead or missing wives, yet his waxen face was not lined by experience , her mother s concerns, and her own equivocation when asked if she loves him, she says I m sure I want to marry him Her father had died, leaving a legacy of tears that never quite dried , and she is seduced by an opal ring that may be cursed I sensed in myself a potentiality for corruption , and evidently he does too The bedroom scene is disturbing, but not in a graphic way, as is his porn collection, which features disturbingly youthful subjects He wants to flood the bedroom with light, all the better to see you , echoing two versions of Little Red Riding Hood later in the book.He goes away, leaving her in charge of the household, including all the keys She is instructed to indulge herself as she likes in this lovely prison of which I was both the inmate and the mistress , with a single exception she must never enter the room where he occasionally goes to savour the rare pleasure of imagining myself wifeless Of course, the temptation is enormous view spoiler she looks, finds the bodies of previous wives surrounded by lilies and then can t wash the incriminating blood off the key I had been tricked into my own betrayal His face contained a sombre delirium guilty joy as he slowly ascertained how I had sinned hide spoiler So far, so traditional But there is a feisty heroine in this view spoiler her mother, on horseback hide spoiler The Courtship of Mr LyonPlenty of horror tropes in the opening a man breaks down somewhere remote, seeks aid at a magnificent Palladian house, where he receives generous, enchanted hospitality from an unseen host he felt no fear although he knew by the pervasive atmosphere of a a suspension of reality that he had entered a place of privilege where all the laws of the world he knew need not necessarily apply As he leaves, he takes a single white rose for his daughter, at which the Beastly owner appears His wrath is only appeased by the promise of the man s daughter coming to dinner.What sort of father pimps his daughter, even if only for a meal Beauty feels spotless, sacrificial , realising her visit to the Beast must be, on some magically reciprocal scale, the price of her father s renewed good fortune and hence she was possessed by a sense of obligation to an unusual degree It continues traditionally, I think, though this well known story is somehow one I never read very often as a child or parent and I don t like Disney.The Tiger s BrideA darker version of Beauty and the Beast, opening My father lost me to the Beast at cards as he magnificently concluded the career he had made of catastrophe This Beauty isbitter than the Mr Lyon version.Instead of magical staff, this version has automata, which make it farsinister, and this Beast explicitly wants The sight of a young lady s skin that no man has seen before There is a strange parallel between Beauty and her animatronic maid had I not been allotted only the same kind of imitative life amongst men that the doll maker had given her Ultimately, this leads Beauty to view spoiler choose to stay with the Beast, sending the maid to her father, in her place She willingly gives herself to the Beast to take off all my clothes involved a kind of flaying and his abrasive tongue strips back layers of skin, until she is revealed to be fury, like him hide spoiler Puss in BootsThis is overtly humorous, narrated by a proud, sharp, cynical Puss and almost totally different from the usual story beyond the initial setup of an impoverished master and his unattainable object of affection Puss also has a love object, and she is attainable, and at least as cunning as he is This one features human sex and cat sex but not together The Erl KingI was unfamiliar with this exquisite story, but its richness and allusions to goblins, woodland and succulent berries reminded me of Christina Rossetti s Goblin Market see my review HERE red berries as ripe and delicious as goblin or enchanted fruit with appalling succulence There s not much plot, just beautiful, allegorical writingThe lucidity, the clarity of the light that afternoon was sufficient to itself perfect transparency must be impenetrable, these vertical bars of brass coloured distillation of light coming down from sulphur yellow interstices in a sky hunkered with grey clouds that bulge withrain The withered blackberries dangled like their own dour spooks on the discoloured brambles Autumn a haunting sense of the imminent cessation of being the year, in turning, turns in on itself Introspective weather, a sickroom hush The woods enclose The intimate perspectives of the wood changed endlessly around the interloper, the imaginary traveller walking towards an invented distance that perpetually receded before me He strips me to my last nakedness then dresses me again in an embrace so lucid and encompassing it might be made of water his touch both consoles and devastates me What big eyes you have LRRH, again Eyes of an incomparable luminosity, the numinous phosphorescence of the eyes of lycanthropes The gelid green of your eyes fixes my reflective face It is a preservative, like a green liquid amber I am afraid I will be trapped in it He winds me into the circle of his eye on a reel of birdsong looking there makes me giddy, as if I might fall into it The Snow ChildLess than a page long a brutal male fantasy, with paedophilic and even incestuous undercurrents but not graphic The Lady of the House of LoveThe Queen of the Vampires is a girl who is both death and the maiden She s hundreds of years old, wearing a wedding gown, endlessly dealing tarot cards, and lives in a dusty and decaying mansion, inhibited by ghosts like Dickens Miss Havisham She yearns to be human.As he approaches the house, he explicitly remembers childhood stories of such places very meta , but goes in regardless In this, the woman is the predator, and the virgin interloper a young man, and once again, flowers play a seductive part the scent of roses creates sensuous vertigo faintly corrupting sweetness He realises She herself is a haunted house She does not possess herself There is blood view spoiler she pricks her finger, and he kisses it hide spoiler and a bedroom view spoiler but no sex hide spoiler and a final transformation, echoing many of the stories view spoiler she dies, but leaves behind a flower, which magically revives and is a sort of premonition of his coming time in the trenches of WW1 hide spoiler.The WerewolfA short reversal of Little Red Riding Hood, with the girl in charge view spoiler she meets the wolf, attacks it, then discovers it was actually her grandmother in disguise hide spoiler.The Company of WolvesForests are dangerous because of wolves, but some wolves become human when they die This isn t necessarily a good thing Lots of description of the beauty and danger of forests and fur.This is a girl power version of Little Red Riding Hood view spoiler The pubescent girl takes a bet from a man that she can reach her grandma s house first and that if she loses, she ll give him a kiss In fact, she gives herself to him fully, willingly and somewhat violently She stands and moves within the invisible pentacle of her own virginity She is an unbroken egg she is a sealed vessel she has inside her a magic space she is a closed system she does not know how to shiver She has her knife and she is afraid of nothing hide spoiler Wolf AliceA feral child is raised by wolves, then taken in by nuns who try to civilise her and then pass her on to a mysterious Duke , who has no reflection view spoiler until he has a bleeding wound that she licks hide spoiler She inhabits only the present tense, a fugue of the continuous, a world of sensual immediacy It s only when she starts menstruating that she begins to acquire a sense of times and, to some extent, external sense of self Quotes My satin nightdress supple as a garment of heavy water, and now teasingly caressed me, egregious, insinuating, nudging between my thighs The first grey streamers of the dawn not a good sign And we drove towards the widening dawn, that now streaked half the sky with a wintry bouquet of pink of roses, orange of tiger lilies, as if my husband had ordered e a sky from a florist The day broke around me like a cool dream Sea sand a sky that melts into the sea a landscape of misty pastels with a look about it of being continuously on the point of melting A landscape with all the delinquent harmonies of Debussy The faery solitude of the amphibious place, contravening the materiality of both earth and the waves, with the melancholy of a mermaiden who perches on her rock and waits, endlessly, for a lover who has drowned far away, long ago Your thin white face, with its promise of debauchery only a connoisseur could detect Her day of pastel coloured idleness Her face was acquiring, instead of beauty, a lacquer of the invincible prettiness that characterises certain pampered, exquisite, expensive cats The furious cynicism peculiar to women whom circumstances force to witness folly the sullen river, sweating fog The treacherous south where you think there is no winter but forget you take it with you A valet with unflattering obsequiousness and old fashioned look ironic, sly, a smidgen of disdain in it his face seamed with the innocent cunning of an ancient baby French the only language in which you can purr Love is desire sustained by unfulfilment The light of the fire sucked into the black vortex of his eye A plangent twang like that of the plucked heartstrings of a woman of metal Her hair falls down like tears Random areas of staining, ominous marks like those left on the sheets by dead lovers The solstice is the hinge of the year when things do not fit together as well as they should His bedroom is painted terracotta, rusted with a wash of pain Recommended by Danielle CUSFS.Not to be confused with the pocket sized collection, Bluebeard see my review HERE , which retells several traditional tales, adds a twist and moral, but is less dark and deep than these ones.Similar, but differentSee Hardened Hearts, an anthology of stories on the tragedies of love by seventeen different writers They re dappled with stains of dark fantasy or light horror, and some have a distinct fairytale feel, like these See my review HERE


  7. Always Pouting Always Pouting says:

    A collection of stories based off of fairy tales, I found this the other day cleaning out by books and I realized I never read it I think it may have been for a class I dropped and I guess I had already bought the books It was a pretty short read about 126 pages, so I read it in between doing other work today when taking a break I really enjoyed the writing style and I think the first story, the one the book is named after, was the best one by far Some of the other ones were weaker, especial A collection of stories based off of fairy tales, I found this the other day cleaning out by books and I realized I never read it I think it may have been for a class I dropped and I guess I had already bought the books It was a pretty short read about 126 pages, so I read it in between doing other work today when taking a break I really enjoyed the writing style and I think the first story, the one the book is named after, was the best one by far Some of the other ones were weaker, especially the ones that were shorter I think this book is much better reading for it s turns of phrases and writing style than if you re looking for engagement with plot, especially since the stories are shorter The book would ve gotten a three if it was just about it s ability to engage me but I bumped it up to four because I love poetic vivid prose


  8. Paquita Maria Sanchez Paquita Maria Sanchez says:

    What an excellent bundle of stories bringing it all back home, fairytales and folklore wise, stripped of their deceptive pop culture whitewash, all blood splattered and primal and sensual and lady teachy I don t know which rose pricked me deeper the blood countess stricken with sudden, self sacrificial hideousness in the eternal sleep of light of day at finding a pure, deserving specimen of love, dropped off to sleep over the cards of destiny that are so fingered, so soiled, so worn by consta What an excellent bundle of stories bringing it all back home, fairytales and folklore wise, stripped of their deceptive pop culture whitewash, all blood splattered and primal and sensual and lady teachy I don t know which rose pricked me deeper the blood countess stricken with sudden, self sacrificial hideousness in the eternal sleep of light of day at finding a pure, deserving specimen of love, dropped off to sleep over the cards of destiny that are so fingered, so soiled, so worn by constant shuffling that you can no longer make the image out on any single one of them the image of the haggard yet severe mother riding up all floppy hat and sagely, wild gray hairs, pistol drawn to pierce the not Bluebeard, not Gilles de Rais who cleverly keeps a copy of La Bas right next to the snuff photography in his bedchamber, because meta fic just before he dares attempt to behead her darling, too curious daughter an image which anyone with as fierce, protective, supportive, and profoundly independent a mamabear as mine can relate to ad infinitum the girl who became the tiger for the tiger, full acceptance, literally stripped bare to reveal her anything, everything Beautiful, bombastic prose reclaiming these shadows of childhood for what they were intended to be lessons about what s to come in burgeoning adulthood, subconscious fears embraced, the ways of the ugly world and its horrid beauty What a mind Don t feed your children Disney, feed them this Well, except for W.D s Robin Hood, that movie is amazing


  9. Hannah Greendale Hannah Greendale says:

    Exquisite His touch both consoles and devastates me I feel my heart pulse, then wither, naked as a stone on the roaring mattress while the lovely, moony night slides through the window to dapple the flanks of this innocent who makes cages to keep the sweet birds in Eat me, drink me thirsty, cankered, goblin ridden, I go back and back to him to have his fingers strip the tattered skin away and clothe me in his dress of water, this garment that drenches me, its slithering odour, its capacit Exquisite His touch both consoles and devastates me I feel my heart pulse, then wither, naked as a stone on the roaring mattress while the lovely, moony night slides through the window to dapple the flanks of this innocent who makes cages to keep the sweet birds in Eat me, drink me thirsty, cankered, goblin ridden, I go back and back to him to have his fingers strip the tattered skin away and clothe me in his dress of water, this garment that drenches me, its slithering odour, its capacity for drowning.


  10. Jan-Maat Jan-Maat says:

    After the rigorous pounding that I got while reading The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr Hoffman, I certainly wasn t expecting this almost diffident collection of short stories.Reading the whole collection the sense of Carter s craft is very strong emphasised by having stories like The Courtship of Mr Lyon and The Tiger s Bride which are variants of the same folktale, or the repetition of the same elements such as the magical power of virginity in The Lady of the House of Love and The Company After the rigorous pounding that I got while reading The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr Hoffman, I certainly wasn t expecting this almost diffident collection of short stories.Reading the whole collection the sense of Carter s craft is very strong emphasised by having stories like The Courtship of Mr Lyon and The Tiger s Bride which are variants of the same folktale, or the repetition of the same elements such as the magical power of virginity in The Lady of the House of Love and The Company of Wolves although I did wonder what would happen subsequently once the hymen was no longer there It is easy to imagine Carter at her work bench, loosening her vice, critically admiring a piece of finished work before putting it to one side and deciding to do the whole thing again, just twisting it slightly or taking something apart and recombining the elements in a slightly different way.But I did not have the sense of a writer pushing me towards the limits of my endurance, striking at me with a rationality that was barbed with calculation, sharp with her considered intellect These stories wererelaxed for all their sexuality The teapot perched on her workbench for sure had a little crocheted cosy to keep it snugly warm, the collection broadly speaking was safer than I expected from the aforementioned novel As one often has cause to remark it is funny the difference that the absence of giant pan sexual tattooed rapist centaurs makes to a writer s work.The sexual content seemed admittedly less radical to me than maybe it did at time of publication I think, perhaps I am wrong, that we are generally faraware that the sexually explicit content in popular stories was edited out to create our modern fairy tales, by the brothers Grimm among others, in the nineteenth century while they retained the the violence at least the non sexual violence Carter to my mind is simply returning to the original potentialities of this kind of story Perhaps they weren t necessarily told in quite as an explicit a manner as here, possibly just with a knowing leer, or a wink, but the potential for sexual readings was always there.The title story, The Bloody Chamber, felt terribly long, as the actress said to the Bishop, and I read the overflowing champagne staining the bride to be s dress as a subtle symbol, until I read the following paragraph which made it absolutely clear that subtle was a word that Carter had removed from her dictionary at least for as long as she was working on this story, although having said that the narrator s reaction to the sense of her own ability to be sexually corrupt and decadent balanced nicely with her husband s fairly straightforward desire to murder his wives, and there is a pleasure in reading a story in which the happy ending is a menage a trois between two women and their skilful fingered blind piano tuner The Lady of the House of Love played out a vampire story almost to the point of Count Duckula comedy with it s plucky Blond Beast of a hero doomed to die a different death, while the last lines respectively of The Erl King and The Tiger s Bride struck me with their brilliance, eerie and savage The Erl King all theso as he is based apparently on Carter s long term lover and eventual final husband, Carter suggests that the transformative nature of a relationship can be such that you can see it as a kind of death, both horrifying, sinister and alluring, seized with open arms, I am struck by how deeply she works over time, on me at least, and got under the skin with some very simple little stories, without fireworks So much so that I hesitate to recommend her.As a set of stories it was a fairly mixed bag for me, an easy train read, but something that gives me a wider sense of Carter s ability as a creative writer To suggest that she may have been one of the strongest voices from the latter half of twentieth century British literature would be meaningful only if I waswidely read Anyway I had taken myself for a walk today round the park, I passed a prim old lady with a wiry dog, no , she said we won t go chasing squirrels today as she pulled on the dog s leash I was very taken by this and a little sad to have not been there on those days when she d fold down her umbrella, put her knitted purple hat in her pocket and run with her wiry dog after squirrels, and dance with anger at the foot of trees Perhaps that wasn t precisely what she meant But it reminded me both of the Lady who loved Animals and the rasp like tongue of our old cat who d lick porridge from my fingers until he learnt to help himself from my bowl view spoiler he was also partial to sour milk and raw dough, he was an odd creature hide spoiler and that rasping reminded me of The Tiger s Wife, the sense of love and passion as something abrasive, that will change you, maybe not into a stripy tiger, but will rasp and grind you, but with that as something to which one can surrender oneself no doubt with trepidation and uncertainty, open to experience and the change that we experience as life Perhaps this comes from Angela Carter flinging herself on to Japan and finding that she survived however changed and unchanged That she has then got her rasping tongue under my flesh and works at it still, six months after reading leads me to re evaluate this collection, a mixed bag no doubt but a terribly strong and versatile one