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Shadow Dance

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  322 ratings  ·  22 reviews
In this, her first novel, Angela Carter tells a tale of shattered beauty and male camaraderie.
Paperback, 182 pages
Published September 4th 1997 by Little Brown and Company (first published 1966)
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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...more
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 it's climax and conclusion, and leaves me with a lot...more
Fran Jacobs
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...more
Rachael Eyre
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...more
my first angela carter book & still one of my favorites. fucked up & creepy & wonderful.
Ade Couper
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...more
Matilda Churches
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...more
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
Nicole Rimensberger
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
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...more
David McMahon
Uncanny in the best way possible. A story full of frail and broken people with a strange ability to frighten.
lynne naranek
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
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
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What on earth did I just read?! Love Carter.
More wonderful, twisted stories from Carter.
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From Wikipedia: 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...more
More about Angela Carter...
The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories Nights at the Circus The Magic Toyshop Wise Children Angela Carter's Book of Fairy Tales

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“At the best of times, spring hurts depressives.” 2 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.”
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