Friday, 10 April 2009

The Bloody Chamber - Angela Carter

Read: June 2008
Like a thickly growing forest, The Bloody Chamber is almost impenetrably dense: you read a line, read it again, read it a third time and still feel yourself thoroughly lost. You look around and feel the moon looming full overhead, hear voices in the darkness around you. The Bloody Chamber takes you into the darkest corners of the forest and the highest ramparts of the castle, where lust is violent, retribution bloody, love passionate, and nobody can hear you scream. In the Bloody Chamber, Angela Carter re-imagines some of our most familiar fairy tales, imbuing them sensuously and seductively with modern significance. Like a werewolf creeping up behind you, the fairy tales of our lore are given fresh twists you will not see coming. I particularly enjoyed the humour of Puss-in-Boots, but each of the tales is intriguing. You have Bluebeard, Beauty and the Beast, Red Riding Hood, vampires, werewolves, all retold in language that is dark, gothic, erotic, funny, tragic and thought provoking. They are not just retold fairy tales with a feminist twist (although that they are), but are fabulously embodied, immediate and powerful pieces of writing. These tales are old, as old as time, and they read like that. Carter holds a mirror up to our wildest desires and most terrifying nightmares to produce a series of rich tales the like of which you will not read anywhere else.

6.5 out of 10

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