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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)
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Mary
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.
Steve
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
Natasha
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.
Sarah
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
...more
Katie
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.
Geoffrey
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.
kari
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.
Mickey
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)
Tara
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...
Judy
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.
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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
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