Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Angela Carter's Book of Fairy Tales” as Want to Read:
Angela Carter's Book of Fairy Tales
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Angela Carter's Book of Fairy Tales

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  1,859 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Once upon a time fairy tales weren't meant just for children, and neither is Angela Carter's Book of Fairy Tales. This collection contains lyrical tales, bloody tales and hilariously funny and ripely bawdy stories from countries all around the world - from the Arctic to Asia - and no dippy princesses or soppy fairies. Instead, we have pretty maids and old crones; crafty wo ...more
Hardcover, 445 pages
Published November 3rd 2005 by Virago (first published 1992)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

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

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Read this one for the Cardiff SFF Book Club. I’m not the biggest fan of Angela Carter, having read a couple of her books back during my BA, but I do love fairy tales, so I was ready to give it a go anyway. Turns out, it isn’t a book of fairy tales by Angela Carter (which to be fair, having read The Bloody Chamber, wouldn’t be unexpected), but edited by her. She wrote a fairly scholarly introduction to it, acknowledging colonial bias, etc, etc, and commenting on the content. I’m… probably going t ...more
Hannah Young
Nov 04, 2007 Hannah Young rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Adults
Packed with grotesque fairy tales from every period and culture imagineable, this beautiful book with somewhat sinister illustrations is perfect for anyone wanting to engage with their 'inner child' with a more mature twist.

It's not really bedtime-story material though...
I read the first half of this book prior to buying this edition. This is actually Volumne 1 and Volumne 2 of Carter's Virago Fairy Tales.

What makes the collection good is that the fairy tales, or folk tales, range widely. Carter does have some well known tales here, such as "Little Red Riding Hood" but she collections lesser well known ones, including a heavy does of tales from non-European countries.

While I am not sure if I would use the word feminist to describe the collection, the tales are m
Annie Weeder
"There was woman who was old, blind and likewise unable to walk. Once she asked her daughter for a drink of water. The daughter was so bored with her old mother that she gave her a bowl of her own piss. The old woman drank it all up, then said: 'You're a nice one, daughter. Tell me - which would you prefer as a lover, a louse or a sea scorpion?'
'Oh, a sea scorpion,' laughed the daughter, 'because he would not be crushed so easily when I slept with him.'
Whereupon the old woman proceeded to pull
This was bizarre. Grotesque, even. But it was also extremely interesting and captivating. With her carefully selected tales, Carter took me on a journey all over the world. I journeyed from Iceland to Egypt, from Norway to Peru within a few pages. So many cultures are represented and united in this gorgeous book - and only a few tales were known to me beforehand.

All of the tales center around women, and the stories are organized into little sections, such as 'Clever Women', 'Mothers and Daughte
Mia Krone
It took me a while to get through this one, but wasn't because I dind't like. I did, I actually liked it a lot.
Laura Fudge
I normally love short stories, and fairy tales, but I struggled a little with this one. The book is a collection of stories from all over the world, all of which based around a female character. The stories are grouped into the following:

Brave, Bold and Wilful
Clever Women, Resourceful Girls and Desperate Stratagems
Good Girls and Where it Gets Them
Unhappy Families
Moral Tales
Strong Minds and Low Cunning
Up to Something – Black Arts and Dirty Tricks
Beautiful People
Mothers an
First of all, I am not sure what's the genre of this book. Fiction? The tales may be true to some people. Horror? I certainly think so given that some of the fairy tales are horrifying. Fantasy? Perhaps.

The book is edited by Angela Carter and illustrated, darkly, by Corinna Sargood. But it is the beautiful cover and the classic bound that attracted me to it at Kinokuniya Jakarta. This is one of the rare hardcovers that I buy willingly because of its looks.

This edition is a compilation of two of
A collection of folklore from around the world, tales of wise women, crafty witches and resourceful maidens… the woman-centric theme doesn’t intrude, just makes it a more cohesive collection than most fable anthologies. There’s an all-too-short yet interesting forward by Carter, and the woodcut illustrations are a lovely accompaniment.

Considering that I’ve been meaning to read something of the work of Angela Carter for a long time, I’m a bit nonplussed to find myself starting with a book she com
When Angela Carter collects fairy tales from around the world you know they're going to be awesome. Ok, so I haven't read every tale in it yet but I have come across some amazing fairy tales in this collection that had me and my mate in stitches. 'Reason to beat your wife' has a terrific ending with a woman getting one up on her (let's face it) prick of a husband. Angela Carter's introduction is definitely worth a read and I look forward to reading the rest of the stories in the book
Also, the co
Wow, it's amazing how tiresome and repetitious fairy tales become when they're shifted slightly in geography and not at all in plot. And how little they feature fairies. Other things I learned: African fairy tales are all about lions - you'd think there were no other animals on the continent - and Inuits are kinky motherfuckers. All I knew about them before was that they had 5,607 words for snow, something a lot of romantic stories bring up like it's at all relevant.

The final thing I learned was
Angie Rhodes
Jul 23, 2015 Angie Rhodes rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone who,sometimes want's the "bad guy/girl" to win
Shelves: owned
Dark, dark, tales, these are not your Disney Faerie tales, these The Brothers Grimm would be proud of. Some tales are short, no more than a half or a full page, others are novella's . Each one is well written, some make you shudder, others will make you laugh. Filled with beautiful drawings, and a ribbon, for marking your page, this is a book to keep, and savour , which is why it took me ages to read it, I didn't want it to end,
Samantha S.
Feminist and violent retelling of fairy tales
Nov 23, 2008 Fountaingirl marked it as to-read
I bought this, expecting a great read. What I got was a fantastic read! This is a collection of thoroughly enjoyable short stories, all dystopian moral/fairy stories. Every story left me thinking, and all are totally unique and original.
I've still got the image of the 'blubber boyfriend' in my head! The images the Carter creates through her flawless use of language is incredible.

Anyone who enjoys the Brothers Grimm tales will undoubtedly enjoy Carter's tales, they are of a very similar ilk.
Luciana Darce
Já havia algum tempo que eu vivia de olho nesse livro, especialmente depois de ler A Menina do Capuz Vermelho e conhecer um pouco da importância de Angela Carter para o estudo dos contos de fadas. Ele passou um longo tempo (exatamente a época em que o descobri) fora de catálogo; creio que tenha saído nova edição pela época da Bienal do Rio em 2011, que foi quando me lembro de tê-lo visto.

Por motivos de ordem maior (leia-se: minha mala estava quase que não fechava para o retorno ao lar...), não o
Mathijs Beaujean
Not sure if I should leave this on the 'currently reading' shelf. Reading it grinded to a halt weeks ago.

What keeps me from reading this book is the following:
The jumping about, from culture to culture, of the stories in sequence is really annoying. It's hard enough for someone to get into a story, written by a culture who don't seem to have chronology, subject or even logic dictate a story. But it makes it even harder that the next or preceding story is from a totally different culture, with a
This may be a collection of folk tales from around the world, documented as accurately as possible by Carter, but it still reads like a Carter book through and through. Maybe it's because she was influenced strongly by folklore and carried its vibe into her own writing, or could it be that Carter was unable to resist selecting tales that reflected her own world - I think both.

The stories themselves have a wonderful quality that you only find in folklore. There's little in the way of devices and
Angela Carter presents with a collection of fairy tales from all over the world that make one wonder how Disney manages to make excuses for it's mostly homogenous fairy-tale characters. Reading this reminded me of a lovely show called "Happily Ever After Fairy Tales for Every Child" which featured wonderfully diverse interpretations of classic tales. However, this anthology showed me that many of the popular stories many of us have grown up with [Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty ...more
T. Edmund
In her Book of Fairy Tales, Carter has attempted what the Bro's Grimm did many a generation ago, and compile a compendium of folk and fairy tales from across a variety of cultures and countries. Ranging from Inuit to Hillbilly Carter doesn't edit, tone-down or Hollywoodise anything (the Inuit tales stand out as the most strange)

In confession I must disclose that for me the tales ranged from, 'I can't follow this' to 'I'm following this but WTF?' to 'GREAT'

Essentially this is an awesome book, but
If I had to sum up this book in one word, it would be Bizarre. This is not the sort of fairy tale book you would pick up to read your children a bed time story. Not unless you think stories where animals are coming out of old ladies virginas are appropriate. Some of these stories are familiar. Bits of them remind you of fairy tales you know and love, Cinderella and Snow White are in here but not as you know them. Some are just plain weird. There seems to be alot of animal/human relationships. An ...more
Steph Smith
Have read a few and enjoying it so far. Kept in the bathroom to dip in and out of
A beautiful range of stories from around the world. I liked the section about witches the best!
Nov 04, 2007 David is currently reading it
Originally published as The Virago book of Fairy Tales (volumes 1&2), Angela Carter has collected some unusual and interesting folk tales from around the world from a feminist perspective. I say that but then it always seemed to me that even the most well known fairy tales were all about women anyway (except maybe Jack and Beanstalk). This lot have a much more 'Sisters are doing for themselves' attitude. The chapter headings give a good indication of what your in for; 'Brave, Bold and Willfu ...more
This is a fantastic collection of 'fairy' tales from around the world that keep to the origins and original style and detail of the stories giving them a darker, quirkier and more realistic edge than the disney-fied versions we're more familiar with. Angela Carter brings these tales top life through her introduction and associated notes without overbearing or overwhelming the reader with her own views, which allows the reader to form their own views on each tale and the collection as a whole. An ...more
Love Every Sentence!!So informative
I've been sharing these stories with my ten year old daughter, although some of them aren't quite suitable and have to be skipped over quickly! The Inuit tales are particularly strange to our tastes, and often involve some peculiar sexual occurrence - such as a woman fashioning herself a seal-skin penis with which to satisfy her daughter-in-law. Otherwise, it's a beautifully illustrated and interesting collection of stories from all over the world. One to read and re-read.
Maria Mahoney
I originally read thus book because I was researching how people write and view fairy tales and Angela Carter stories are known for twisting fairy tales (just read The Bloody Chamber if you don't believe me) I liked how a lot of the stories, whilst similar, came from so many cultural backgrounds. It was interesting to read and worth my time.
Bizarre, hilarious, very entertaining.
This book definitely open my eyes to another side of Fairy Tales. Its not all about princesses and brave young prince. Its also about tragedy and the impossible.
Very well writen. Some of them sounds like the others, there are several Cinderella stories, with a slight twisted angle.

I would say to people who is going to read this, don't expect it to be like children's fairy tale.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales
  • The Classic Fairy Tales
  • Don't Bet on the Prince: Contemporary Feminist Fairy Tales in North America and England
  • Black Heart, Ivory Bones
  • From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers
  • The Oxford Book of Modern Fairy Tales
  • Forbidden Journeys: Fairy Tales and Fantasies by Victorian Women Writers
  • Russian Magic Tales from Pushkin to Platonov (Penguin Classics)
  • Red as Blood, or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer
  • The Annotated Brothers Grimm (Annotated Books)
  • Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales (Penguin Popular Classics)
  • Fearless Girls, Wise Women & Beloved Sisters: Heroines in Folktales from Around the World
  • Collected Folk Tales
  • Twice Upon a Time
  • The Victorian Fairy Tale Book (Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library)
  • Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins
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 about Angela Carter...
The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories Nights at the Circus The Magic Toyshop Wise Children The Passion of New Eve

Share This Book