Thursday, 7 January 2016

Angela Carter - The Bloody Chamber

My second Angela Carter book is this delightful set of short stories, loosely based on fairy stories, but given a very adult upgrade.

Somewhere in the centre of the book I got a little bogged down with a few similar werewolf / Red Riding Hood stories, but don't let that put you off. The first story - The Bloody Chamber of the title -  will live (somewhat disturbingly) with you for a long time. Well worth the cost by itself. Other gems include the Tiger's Bride (an twist in the literal tail), and an evil Puss in Boots.

I am not entirely sure what this tells us about 'feminist writer' Carter, except that playfulness, love of the earthy and ability to write beautifully all shine through again. There seems little or not attempt to place a feminist undertone into the proceedings, and, indeed, the female victims are never saved the final coup de grace from the evil misogynist villains.

Also, several of the stories have a sensual, even erotic, theme, which does not look to supplant the usual male / female roles and imagery with anything revolutionary. And if you think it is coming in "The Lady of the House of Love" , in which a vampires lures a virgin soldier to her room, well.. no, I'm not going to spoil it for you.

Do these new fairy tales reinterpret the roles of women? No. But this is far from a traditional telling.

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