Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “American Ghosts & Old World Wonders” as Want to Read:
American Ghosts & Old World Wonders
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

American Ghosts & Old World Wonders

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  217 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
A collection of short stories which tear through the archives of cinema, of art and of the subconscious. A young Lizzie Borden visits the circus; a pianist makes a Faustian pact in a fly-blown Southern brothel; and a transfigured Mary Magdalene steps out of the canvases of Donatello and de la Tour.
Paperback, 146 pages
Published 1994 by Vintage (first published 1993)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about American Ghosts & Old World Wonders, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about American Ghosts & Old World Wonders

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 566)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jun 23, 2014 Mary rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2014
I enjoyed the first three stories immensely. Things started to unravel a bit in the fourth story and what followed in the rest of the collection was less successful. It seems to be a whole lot of weird for the sake of weird. I liked her creativity but about half of the stories were just ok.
Jun 09, 2013 Steve rated it it was ok
I read a book of Angela Carter short stories years ago and found them original, dark, quirky, and captivating. This compilation, however, is very short (capitalizing on what the estate could pull together after her death?) and, I find, not completely what I had expected. The first two stories, "Lizzie's Tiger" and "John Ford's 'Tis Pity She's a Whore" I found to be as I remembered the earlier book of stories I had read - quirky and thought provoking with Ms Carter's unconventional take, confound ...more
Belle Wood
Jan 17, 2015 Belle Wood rated it really liked it
A collection of short stories by Angela Carter, exploring the psycho-social roots of fairytales. Actually, that could be a quick review of much of her work, and that is certainly worthy. But this volume concentrates on American legends, with a few English, non-fairytale inspired pieces thrown in at the end. Her exploration of the roots of the Christmas pantomime tradition in Pantoland is really informative, if not quite fiction. Her treatment of Lizzie Borden's first encounter with a big cat in ...more
May 03, 2012 Natasha rated it liked it
I think I liked the first half of the book more than the second. Sometimes her weirdness is just a little too weird for me but loved John Ford's 'Tis pity she's a whore and Gun for the devil.
Dec 08, 2013 Sarah rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-stories
fair enough these were published post-humously, but they really weren't great
Pamela Scott
Oct 30, 2015 Pamela Scott rated it liked it
American Ghosts & Old World Wonders was published after Carter’s death. It contains nine stories, not the seven I originally thought including Lizzie’s Tiger, John Ford’s ‘Tis a Pity She’s a Whore, In Pantoland and Ashputtle or The Mother’s Ghost.

The collection is split into two parts.

Part One could be subtitled American Ghosts and contains four stories set firmly in America. The stories deal with childhood trips to a sinister circus, incest, jealousy in the form of black magic and Hollywood
Mar 07, 2011 Katie rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories, 2011, 1990s
American Ghosts and Old World Wonders was published after Angela Carter’s death from lung cancer in 1992 according to directions that she left. The book is a collection of nine stories, four set in the new world of America and five in the old world of Europe. Part one contains ‘Lizzie’s Tiger’, ‘John Ford’s ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore’, ‘Gun for the Devil’ and ‘The Merchant of Shadows’ and part two comprises ‘The Ghost Ships’, ‘In Pantoland’, ‘Ashputtle, or The Mother’s Ghost’, ‘Alice in Prague, or ...more
Maria Beltrami
Difficile dare un giudizio sui fantasmi della Carter, anche perché i racconti che compongono il libro sono piuttosto differenti nello stile, anche se, in ogni caso, mostrano una enorme potenza immaginativa, una estrema padronanza del linguaggio e un gusto per l'assurdo che è esattamente come la giusta dose di peperoncino in un piatto di pastasciutta.
Due i racconti che mi hanno incantato: "Il mercante di ombre" e "Covacenere", una rilettura molto inquietante della favola di Cenerentola.
Apr 19, 2016 Geoffrey rated it liked it
Mixed feelings. I enjoyed the sheer audacity of the concept of "John Ford's 'Tis Pity She's a Whore;" and "Gun for the Devil," a relatively straightforward (by Carter's standards) transplant of the Freischütz legend into the American southwest, is very cool. But the later stories--more deconstructions of European mythology than anything else--were sort of fun but can't help feeling pretty inessential.
Oct 25, 2015 kari rated it really liked it
Having wanted to read Angela Carter for a while, I snatched the first one I found at my local library, and can't shake off the eerieness that it was this one, of all. I might be in love with Carter's imagination.
Mar 02, 2007 Mickey rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite short story collections, Carter takes historical moments in America (the Western Frontier, the Colonies) and turns them into spooky but poetic stories. (Modern lit; 200 pages)
Aug 15, 2012 Tara rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the first section, focussing on American folklore. The later stories were more like mini-essays really. Still, there's nobody quite like Angela Carter...
Carter, just the richest feast of words and ideas you can indulge in. Some of it incomprehensible but not a bit less mesmerising and delicious for all that.
Annikin is currently reading it
Sep 23, 2016
Sabrina Edmonston
Sabrina Edmonston rated it really liked it
Sep 20, 2016
BookDB marked it as to-read
Sep 19, 2016
Aleksa rated it it was amazing
Sep 18, 2016
Katlyn Jarrett
Katlyn Jarrett is currently reading it
Sep 13, 2016
Moray added it
Sep 11, 2016
Alison marked it as to-read
Sep 09, 2016
Stuart rated it really liked it
Aug 27, 2016
Roxie Ablett
Roxie Ablett marked it as to-read
Aug 13, 2016
Angelia marked it as to-read
Aug 11, 2016
cara marked it as to-read
Aug 11, 2016
Joni Wagner
Joni Wagner marked it as to-read
Aug 08, 2016
Rachel rated it liked it
Aug 06, 2016
Raquel Riera
Raquel Riera marked it as to-read
Aug 04, 2016
Gill marked it as to-read
Jul 30, 2016
Susan Budd
Susan Budd rated it it was ok
Jul 29, 2016
Gabriele marked it as to-read
Jul 27, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 18 19 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Report from Planet Midnight
  • All This Heavenly Glory
  • Elementals: Stories of Fire and Ice
  • Merlin's Booke
  • After Kurukshetra : Three Stories
  • The Kingdom Under the Sea and Other Stories
  • Boy in Darkness and Other Stories
  • Curious, If True: Strange Tales
  • Holloway
  • Novelties and Souvenirs: Collected Short Fiction
  • The Drowned Life
  • Little Gods
  • Nekropolis
  • The Oval Lady, Other Stories: Six Surreal Stories
  • Women and Ghosts: Tales
  • Alabaster
  • Jerusalem Poker (The Jerusalem Quartet, Volume 2)
  • Sleepers Of Mars
Born Angela Olive Stalker in Eastbourne, in 1940, Carter was evacuated as a child to live in Yorkshire with her maternal grandmother. As a teenager she battled anorexia. She began work as a journalist on the Croydon Advertiser, following in the footsteps of her father. Carter attended the University of Bristol where she studied English literature.

She married twice, first in 1960 to Paul Carter. Th
More about Angela Carter...

Share This Book