Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Shadow Dance” as Want to Read:
Shadow Dance
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Shadow Dance

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  412 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
In this, her first novel, Angela Carter tells a tale of shattered beauty and male camaraderie.
Paperback, 182 pages
Published February 9th 2004 by Little Brown and Company (first published 1966)
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 Shadow Dance, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Shadow Dance

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 911)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
James Barker
Typically dark, this slender book is rather haunting, inhabiting the space between reality and fairy tales, a place Carter returned to over and again. As her first novel it feels a little more perfect, to me, than the likes of 'The Passion of New Eve.' In the character of Honeybuzzard she has created someone even more menacing than Uncle Philip in 'The Magic Toyshop;' you can imagine Honey's urbane and dramatic charm being a (honey) trap. Nearly 50 years after its initial publication, 'Shadow Da ...more
Jun 15, 2012 Zee rated it liked it
A very strange story about a ghastly nymphet called Ghislaine whose beauty verges on the grotesque even before her face gets slashed to pieces by the equally beautiful and androgynous villain Honeybuzzard. I am beginning to see a common theme in Carter's particular stance on the nature of feminine beauty in that she loves to concoct her characters as a delirious mix of sexual depravity in virginal garbs.

'Shadow Dance' is a complex novel where the sexuality of characters are always suspect. The
Apr 12, 2016 Craig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This was an interesting change from Carter's other works, given the male protagonist/ anti-hero. While he and his friend, honeybuzzard, wreck havoc on those around them, they really simply act out because they cannot/ don't know how to be emotionally honest with themselves, with each other (a tinge of homoeroticism between them), and with the other people in their lives. This book did a wonderful job of raising my anxiety as the plot moved to its climax and conclusion, and leaves me with a lot t ...more
Matilda Churches
Dec 17, 2013 Matilda Churches rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
As always, Carter's prose is impeccable, captivating in clarity and elegant in turn of phrase; Carter's words are always a joy to read. The same cannot be said for content.

The relationships depicted within "Shadow Dance" are founded on emotional and psychological mistreatment, and the plot is rife with instances of sexual assault and depictions of physical violence. It is a testament to Carter's talents that even I finished this book, bile ever-rising in the back of my throat as references to th
Rebeca F. San Román
Feb 10, 2016 Rebeca F. San Román rated it it was amazing
This book reminded me a bit of "Love", because the characters are similar to the ones on that story though the denouement in this one is a lot more tragic. This is the first novel Carter published and I think that explains a lot, since it's pretty different from most of her books, and a lot harder to digest, not because of her usual complexity, but because the story's so painful and horrific it gave me a stomach ache since the first page.
This is a terrible, terrible book. And Ghîslaine is a drea
Jeanne Thornton
Nov 19, 2014 Jeanne Thornton rated it liked it
Nggg. The good parts: Carter's descriptions of weirdly detailed, creepy urban spaces is always perfect. Honeybuzzard's apartment with its jarred fetuses and weird pictures takes the prize here, but it's all pretty good, and for my money the best parts all involve Honey and Morris's scavenging expeditions. A good description of trespassing repairs much. And the basic plot--centered, as it is, on male violence, the obligations of men to resist male violence, the power women have in the face of mal ...more
Fran Jacobs
Feb 10, 2014 Fran Jacobs rated it it was amazing
A woman is cut down her face by a man, and through the viewpoint of his friend, Morris, we watch as lives fall apart. The woman's, the 'villan's and Morris'. It's a simple story, but Angela Carter is a master. Her prose is elegant, descriptive and flowing, you feel as though you are in the book, seeing everything, feeling everything.

Morris is a hapless sort of characgter. He is driven through his life, through this episode, by the other characters. He is married to a woman he doens't seem to wan
Dec 05, 2008 Gina rated it it was amazing
my first angela carter book & still one of my favorites. fucked up & creepy & wonderful.
Sep 04, 2015 Vanessab rated it liked it
Well, I'm really pleased I've finished this book. I disliked the main characters, Morris and Honeybuzzard intensely. Morris is ineffectual, cruel and constantly feels sorry for himself. Honeybuzzard is cruel, vicious and manipulative. They are both completely self centred. The women are portrayed as victims. Indeed they are victims of rape, murder and exploitation. There is no remorse. Parts of the book are very dated.
However, the quality of the writing is superb. The descriptions are extremely
May 05, 2015 Ian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was Carter’s debut novel, and there’s effusive praise for it on the cover of my edition from Anthony Burgess. And having now read the book, Burgess’s comments don’t surprise me in the least. It’s just like a Burgess novel in many respects. The narrator Morris runs a junk shop with flighty none-too-legit Honeybuzzard (which I kept on wanting to read as Honeybadger), who is a bit of a knob. Rumour has it that the recent scar disfiguring Ghislaine’s face is Honeybuzzard’s handiwork, although h ...more
Rachael Eyre
Apr 10, 2016 Rachael Eyre rated it liked it
I first read Shadow Dance aged thirteen, under its American title of Honeybuzzard. At the time I'd concentrated on the symbiotic, homoerotic bond between the two men (as I was just starting to discover my own sexuality, I looked for echoes wherever I could). This time around, as well as understanding fully what I was reading (whatever was my mother thinking?!), I focused on the two women, Ghislaine and Emily. Both are interesting, and granted less 'screentime' than they deserve.

Ghislaine is the
Ade Couper
Jan 10, 2013 Ade Couper rated it liked it
This is really hard to review....

"Shadow Dance" is the story of a group of very strange people in an unnamed city (which is probably Bristol...): Morris is married, runs an antique shop of sorts , hangs around with some oddball (actually quite grotesque) friends, & appears to be having a mid-life crisis. Returning to his life are Honeybuzzard (crazy name, very crazy guy...) & Ghislaine , once beautiful now horrendously scarred following being attacked in a graveyard. The dynamics of Morr
Victoria Darkins
I just cannot make up my mind about this book. The writing was beautiful but it didn't have a page turning plot. Reading it, you are very conscious of the writer's voice at the expense of enabling the reader to get immersed in the world she was creating. I wonder if this is because she was trying too hard to showcase her writing skill for her first book.

I did finish it but i think that was more to do with the fact the
Book wasn't very long. As an aspiring writer myself it did teach me to be more
David Allison
Aug 26, 2015 David Allison rated it it was ok
Alternately great and awful on a line by line basis, this is very obviously a first novel, full of all the things that make Angela Carter such an essential author (those disgracefully lush run-on sentences, so inviting as to be require a full-on inquisition; the easy location of the mythic in the everyday) but with none of the rigor or precision of her great works and little of the off-key charm of her other apprentice novels.

For Carter obsessives only.
May 02, 2016 Geoffrey rated it it was ok
Well, you can see nascent signs of Carter's genius here, but that doesn't change the fact that, qua novel, this isn't very...good. It feels simultaneously trivial, muddled, and thematically incoherent.
Nicole Rimensberger
Jul 02, 2013 Nicole Rimensberger rated it liked it
This is hot on the heels of my obsessive fairy tale reading of late. A very interesting introduction to Angela Carter's dark world of the modern fairy tale/horror genre. It's based on a disturbing premise: a beautiful, somewhat promiscuous girl is attacked and sliced open from eye to navel, leaving her scarred and ruined; the fairy tale princess destroyed. The rest is about the life of two men who she slept with and was friends with and how they relate to her attack. Their daily lives are render ...more
Erin Dillon
Sep 03, 2014 Erin Dillon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Although there wasn't much of a strong plot, or a lot in the way of explanation for certain characters' motivations, I didn't really mind. Morris & Honeybuzzard's interactions were delightful & painful to watch, with Morris' everyday stuffiness providing a plain protagonist for what appears to be a very colorful & dangerous carousel that gravitates around him. Like the kind with no safety straps for small children.

& as per usual, Carter's prose drips decadence. I love her lush us
Feb 01, 2016 Roger rated it liked it
Typically macabre Angela Carter, a quick read not easy to put down, well drawn characters
David McMahon
Jul 15, 2014 David McMahon rated it really liked it
Uncanny in the best way possible. A story full of frail and broken people with a strange ability to frighten.
lynne naranek
Nov 08, 2007 lynne naranek rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007
A strange, dark tale. Excellently written, you're hooked from the first page, ,,, but wow the characters within the tale are just amazing. The loser Morris, the flamboyant Honeybuzzard (the pseudo main character - the book was originally titled with his name), the ghastly Ghislaine, the superclean Emily, they all come together to make an almost trainwreck type of tale, where you know things are just going to get really bad for them, yet you just can't look away...
Jessica Andersen
Jul 14, 2012 Jessica Andersen rated it liked it
Shadow Dance was a lot different than The Bloody Chamber. I enjoyed the book though. I will read more by Angela Carter.

This one didn't really seem to be in the sci-fi/fantasy vein that her books are usually classified in. It was her first book, the writing is very good and descriptive. The story was interesting and the characters were well-developed.

Evelina Dimova
Oct 20, 2013 Evelina Dimova rated it really liked it
enjoyed this slightly less than the other carter books i have read and was planning on giving it a even lower rating (3 stars), but the last few chapters, if i may call them that, were so captivating in their vivid imagery that they saved the book for me. and by "saved", i do mean made it quite enjoyable, as opposed to it being "just a read".
Apr 04, 2016 Jules rated it liked it
The London that Carter describes here is seedy and lusty. Her characters are both manipulative and destructive. They dance with the darker parts of themselves, seducing shadows in dim alleys. This isn't my favorite work by Carter, but it still bears the signature style of all her work.
Not her best, but it definitely deserves some credit. Angela Carter's brings to life characters that are both monstrous and woeful, you can't help but recoil with distaste at the unfolding story.
It's a quick flowing read that is worth picking up for Carter's brilliant writing style.
Jan 24, 2013 Claire rated it really liked it
Dark and disturbing story of a woman who has bewitched the blokes in the local pubs, with her beauty. A pair of the men are dodgy dealing "antique" dealers and the main character is one of the pair. They have both been involved with the Prick-teaser, with awful consequences.
Jan 30, 2013 Kara rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2013-books
This book was either so far above my head or just not my thing, but either way, the only redeeming thing I can say is that it only took me a day and a half to read. I have a book of her short stories and am wondering if they are worth my time.
Feb 07, 2012 Chere rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
This is an excellent first novel from one of my favorite authors. Deliciously dark, it hooked me right from the beginning. Though it ended too soon, I thoroughly enjoyed the read.
Jul 13, 2012 Helena rated it it was ok
Super disappointing, not a fraction as good as her other stuff. Not much happens, no amazing descriptions, focuses on Morris (who is boring) way too much and not on Ghislaine.
Feb 10, 2013 Leah rated it really liked it
What on earth did I just read?! Love Carter.
Feb 14, 2008 John rated it it was amazing
More wonderful, twisted stories from Carter.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30 31 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Fantastic Fables
  • Stepmother
  • The Book of the Unknown: Tales of the Thirty-six
  • The Devil's Dictionary and Other Works
  • The Various Lives of Keats and Chapman: Including The Brother
  • The Stain
  • A Card from Angela Carter
  • Dark Property
  • I Burn Paris
  • Every Light in the House Burnin'
  • Horse, Flower, Bird
  • Bats Out of Hell
  • The Hearing Trumpet
  • Imaginary Lives
  • Overnight to Many Distant Cities
  • Talks with a Devil
  • Ghosts And Ruins
  • The Book of Jokes
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

“At the best of times, spring hurts depressives.” 7 likes
“She was a Victorian girl; a girl of the days when men were hard and top-hatted and masculine and ruthless and girls were gentle and meek and did a great deal of sewing and looked after the poor and laid their tender napes beneath a husband’s booted foot, and even if he brought home cabfuls of half-naked chorus girls and had them dance on the rich round mahogany dining-table (rosily reflecting great pearly hams and bums in its polished depths). Or, drunk to a frenzy, raped the kitchen-maid before the morning assembly of servants and children and her black silk-dressed self (gathered for prayers). Or forced her to stitch, on shirts, her fingers to rags to pay his gambling debts.
Husbands were a force of nature or an act of God; like an earthquake or the dreaded consumption, to be borne with, to be meekly acquiesced to, to be impregnated by as frequently as Nature would allow. It took the mindless persistence, the dogged imbecility of the grey tides, to love a husband.”
More quotes…