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Angela Carter's Book of Fairy Tales (Virago Fairy Tales #1-2)

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4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  2,543 Ratings  ·  84 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, 486 pages
Published November 3rd 2005 by Virago (first published 1992)
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Nikki
Mar 22, 2015 Nikki rated it really liked it
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
Edwina
Jan 24, 2014 Edwina rated it liked it
"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
...more
Kim Kaso
Oct 26, 2015 Kim Kaso rated it it was amazing
I read this book years back, before the recent craze for fairy tales began, and remember thinking that it was true to the original form, fairy tales were never intended to be a bedtime story, unless we parents meant our children to have horrible nightmares. At that time, Angela Carter and Tanith Lee were pioneering this reimagining which both harkened back to the originals and brought them into the modern age. Then Terry Windling & Ellen Datlow brought out their wonderful anthologies, and Ch ...more
Chris
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
...more
Hannah Young
Aug 01, 2007 Hannah Young rated it really liked it
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...
Bookshop
Jul 29, 2007 Bookshop rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
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trishtrash
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
...more
Rikke
Jan 23, 2014 Rikke rated it really liked it
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
...more
Thomas Edmund
Aug 02, 2013 Thomas Edmund rated it really liked it
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
...more
Laura Fudge
May 09, 2011 Laura Fudge rated it liked it
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
Sillies
Good Girls and Where it Gets Them
Witches
Unhappy Families
Moral Tales
Strong Minds and Low Cunning
Up to Something – Black Arts and Dirty Tricks
Beautiful People
Mothers an
...more
Nat
Jul 02, 2012 Nat rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Angie Rhodes
May 22, 2015 Angie Rhodes rated it it was amazing
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
Mia Krone
Aug 30, 2014 Mia Krone rated it really liked it
Shelves: fairytales
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.
E.L.
Mar 27, 2017 E.L. rated it really liked it
4/5 stars.

My review of this book will be both spoiler free and short, as there are far too many stories to talk about in great detail. I'll start by saying that I initially bought this book under the misapprehension that it was written by Carter, as opposed to collected by her shortly before her death. I've since learned that is not the case, but thoroughly enjoyed the book nonetheless. It's a delightful collection, full of dark, enchanting and funny stories spanning many cultures and continents
...more
Fantasymundo
May 29, 2017 Fantasymundo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cuentos
En la recopilación hay narraciones que presentan una reflexión o un aprendizaje en forma de moraleja, pero tiene cabida el humor y el sexo, en especial en las inuit, que también suelen resultar las más escatológicas, explícitas y que más tabúes rompen para nuestra mente occidental. Una gran parte resultan Seguir leyendo
Larissa S
May 24, 2017 Larissa S rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed these tales. My absolute favourite is by far "The Recourseful Wife." It made me laugh out loud. I will revisit this many times.
abatage
Dec 25, 2010 abatage rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
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
...more
Ignacio Senao f
Muchos minirelatos repetitivos. Una mujer de protagonista (princesa, bruja, huérfana…) un suceso que la mayoría de las veces es absurdo, y final “tonto”.

La edición es un espectáculo, pura preciosidad.
Rachel
Aug 19, 2014 Rachel rated it it was ok
Shelves: meh, fantasy
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
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Mathijs Beaujean
Oct 18, 2011 Mathijs Beaujean rated it did not like it
Shelves: put-on-hold
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
...more
Lina
Oct 14, 2011 Lina rated it really liked it
Shelves: fairytale
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
Redfox5
May 04, 2013 Redfox5 rated it really liked it
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
Samantha
Nov 08, 2016 Samantha rated it liked it
I have been reading this book as a bedtime story with my partner (yes we are very grown up people!) We both enjoyed it. I liked the fact that it told you where the fairy tales originated from (and made me wonder whether some things were lost in translation?) The fact that it collects stories from across the world is also unique, as I don't think I would ever have come across these stories otherwise.

Some of the stories are better than others (as in most anthologies), and some are just plain bizar
...more
Espe Colom
Jan 20, 2017 Espe Colom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Me ha parecido muy interesante conocer algunas muestras de folklore de otras partes. Lo recomiendo
Hope Nakagawa
Jan 06, 2016 Hope Nakagawa rated it really liked it
This book is so overwhelmingly clever
Fountaingirl
Nov 23, 2008 Fountaingirl marked it as to-read
OMG I HAVE TO HAVE THIS TOO
Erin Britton
May 09, 2017 Erin Britton rated it it was amazing
Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales is proof that fairy tales are certainly not just for children. While an absolute feast for the imagination, the tales collected in this volume are not for the fainthearted as there is plenty of low cunning, wicked plotting and dark arts to be found within the pages of this book. Every good collection of short stories should leave you wanted to read another after you have completed one story and it really is next to impossible to read just one of the fairy tale ...more
Silvia Romano
May 20, 2017 Silvia Romano rated it it was amazing
Normalmente no me aferro a los libros. Ni siquiera a los que más me gustan. Me encanta que las buenas historias rueden y se propaguen y no que junten polvo en mi biblioteca.
Sin embargo, hago la excepción con este libro. Esta es una obra para tener y leer toda la vida. Se trata de cuentos de hadas para adultos en donde las protagonistas son mujeres.
Me reconectó con mi niñez cuando leía sin parar historias de fantasía. Nunca debí dejar de hacerlo. Es un compilado de historias tradicionales de to
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: From Straparola and Basile to the Brothers Grimm
  • From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers
  • Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales
  • The Oxford Book of Modern Fairy Tales
  • The Classic Fairy Tales
  • Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales
  • Black Heart, Ivory Bones
  • Fearless Girls, Wise Women & Beloved Sisters: Heroines in Folktales from Around the World
  • Forbidden Journeys: Fairy Tales and Fantasies by Victorian Women Writers
  • The Annotated Brothers Grimm
  • Red as Blood, or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer
  • At the Bottom of the Garden: A Dark History of Fairies, Hobgoblins, Nymphs, and Other Troublesome Things
  • Twice Upon a Time
  • Russian Magic Tales from Pushkin to Platonov
  • Collected Folk Tales
  • A Portable Shelter
  • Spinning Straw into Gold: What Fairy Tales Reveal About the Transformations in a Woman's Life
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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
More about Angela Carter...

Other Books in the Series

Virago Fairy Tales (3 books)
  • The Virago Book of Fairy Tales
  • The Second Virago Book Of Fairy Tales

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“Swahili storytellers believe that women are incorrigibly wicked, diabolically cunning and sexually insatiable; I hope this is true, for the sake of the women.” 0 likes
“But one story in this book, 'How a Husband Weaned His Wife from Fairy Tales', shows just how much fairy stories could change a woman's desires, and how much a man might fear that change, would go to any lenghts to keep her from pleasure, as if pleasure itself threatened his authority.
Which, of course, it did.
It still does.”
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