Do you have the courage to enter Angela Carter's quirky realm of magical realism? One shouldn't confuse her work as "retellings" of familiar EuropeanDo you have the courage to enter Angela Carter's quirky realm of magical realism? One shouldn't confuse her work as "retellings" of familiar European fairy tales; she in fact sees them as new stories churned out by taking inspiration from the former.
I'm very happy to note that her writing style vaguely reminds me of Anne Rice's--lush & imaginative.
The Bloody Chamber >> Bluebeard as a story totally came alive for me in this gothic tale. There are references to Marquis de Sade--of his "smell of spiced leather" and his well-stocked library full of sadistic pornography.
Even Bill Willingham's character in his "Fables" series failed to capture the darkness that is Bluebeard. A lot of allusions to the habits of Elizabeth Bathory though. I miss my Jeanne Kalogridis books :(
2 Variations of "Beauty and the Beast": The Courtship of Mr. Lyon >> Finally a story that provides us with more than a one dimensional look at Beauty's "pure & chaste" personality. It is a story of the transformation of the Beast aided by Beauty.
The Tiger's Bride >> "My earrings turned back to water and trickled down my shoulders..."
Puss-in-Boots >> I laughed out loud to this story; where all the stock types and jokes of the commedia dell'arte are used. The cat himself is the narrator: a master of witty lines teeming with rhetorical questions and exclamations.
The Erl-King >> an unfamiliar bit of fable since this one is based on the German legend of a goblin that haunts the Black Forest (reminds me of Baba Yoga) who lures wanderers to their doom. "...He piles up one on another against the wall, a wall of trapped birds."
The Snow Child >> a new spin on the jealousy & incest that surrounds this child borne of a wish & that of the parents who supposedly sired her.
The Lady of the House of Love >> "Can a bird sing only the song it knows, or can it learn a new song?" Do we have the capacity at all to learn something new, heedless of what the cards of life lay before us?
3 variations of "Red Riding Hood": The Werewolf >> What if you found out who is the real werewolf? Would you choose betrayal over survival?
The Company of Wolves >> Red Riding Hood refuses to feel fear: "she burst out laughing; she knew she was nobody's meat."
Many years ago, as rumor has it, Anne Rice set out to prove that the world of erotica was not limited to male writers. It was her contention, so the sMany years ago, as rumor has it, Anne Rice set out to prove that the world of erotica was not limited to male writers. It was her contention, so the story goes, that a women could contribute to this genre just as well, if not better.
And so, under the pen name A. N. Roquelaure, Anne created a trilogy of intense sado-masochistic erotic novels loosely based on the fairytale "Sleeping Beauty."
To say that these books are overwhelmingly intense is not to state the case. It is possible to read them without having a predeliction toward the acts that are graphically described on almost every page, but be warned that Anne, aka Roquelaure, pulls no punches, and there is absolutely nothing subtle or hinted at in these books.
In the traditional folk tale "Sleeping Beauty," the spell cast upon the lovely young princess and everyone in her castle can only be broken by the kiss of a Prince. Anne Rice's retelling of the Beauty story probes the unspoken implications of this lush, suggestive tale by exploring its undeniable connection to sexual desire.
Here the Prince reawakens Beauty, not with a kiss, but with sexual initiation. His reward for ending the hundred years of enchantment is Beauty's complete and total enslavement to him…as Anne Rice explores the world of erotic yearning and fantasy in a classic that becomes, with her skillful pen, a compelling experience.
Keep in mind that this book will put off anyone who does not see romance and sensuality in a power exchange. If you can't tolerate the idea that a woman, or man, may actually wish to submit to another person because they wish to please the Dominant then the concepts will probably seem too far fetched to keep your attention. Also, if you are put off by homo-erotic concepts then you'd best keep a distance. It's not for everyone, but for those open to the above mentioned "flavors" then the book will probably be entertaining at the very least.
It is easy to understand the deep eroticism of Rice's witch and vampire books after sampling the Beauty chronicles. For many many years, I imagined Rice as a veritable cauldron of bubbling thoughts, erotic and otherwise, sane and otherwise, struggling to break free.
Anne knew what she was doing, and she did it, as only she can, in a spectacular manner. Again, be warned: If you are going to read the Beauty Chronicles, expect pure, savage erotica, with nothing hidden or explained away. I read these novels to gain more insight into what makes Rice tick. I did not come away unshocked or unscathed, but I certainly read her later works with a new understanding.
Title The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty (Erotic Adventures of Sleeping Beauty, 1) Author Anne Rice writing as A. N. Roquelaure Reviewed By Purplycookie...more
This sequel to "The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty", the first of Anne Rice's elegantly written volumes of erotica, continues her explicit, teasing exploThis sequel to "The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty", the first of Anne Rice's elegantly written volumes of erotica, continues her explicit, teasing exploration of the psychology of human desire.
Beauty, having indulged in a secret and forbidden infatuation with the rebellious slave Prince Tristan, is sent away from the Satyricon-like world of the castle. Once again Rice's fabulous tale of pleasure and pain dares to explore the most primal and well-hidden desires of the human heart.
"Beauty's Punishment" is the continuation of "The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty", Anne Rice's erotic retelling of the popular fairy tale. In the second installment, Beauty is punished for having rebelled against the Prince. She, along with Prince Tristan, an insubordinate slave and object of Beauty's desire, is auctioned, captivated and subjected to the most erotic, tantalizing and cruel games of domination and submission.
In the village Beauty and some others are auctioned to the civilians who transform them into working slaves : they have to work, the boys are turned into horses or poneys, and their masters and mistresses are degrading them and punishing them into a new stage of submission. They develop their dependence on this enslavement to the point of getting in love with the punishment and the punishing masters or mistresses. At this moment they cannot even imagine themselves leaving or escaping from that degrading position because their psyche has been made dependent on it, because their intellect has been centered on it.
Their whole vision of the world and of themselves in the world holds only because of this enslavement that becomes the cornerstone of it, the apex of any intelligent or sensual reaction and action. They need the punishment to remain structured. Without the punishment they collapse into sheer non-existence, a scattered jigsaw puzzle whose pieces cannot be set back into any kind of a pattern.
Again, Anne Rice does an excellent job in illustrating the psychological implications of the human desire. She also does a splendid job in taking the course of the story to unexpected turns...
There are various differences between "The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty" and its sequel. In "Beauty's Punishment", the language is less fanciful and more explicit. Also, Prince Tristan is the focal character in this book -- thus, making Beauty seem as though she were a secondary character at times.
Title Beauty's Punishment (Erotic Adventures of Sleeping Beauty, 2) Author Anne Rice writing as A. N. Roquelaure Reviewed By Purplycookie...more
In the final volume of Anne Rice's deliciously tantalizing erotic trilogy, Beauty's adventures on the dark side of sexuality make her the bound captivIn the final volume of Anne Rice's deliciously tantalizing erotic trilogy, Beauty's adventures on the dark side of sexuality make her the bound captive of an Eastern Sultan and a prisoner in the exotic confines of the harem. In "Beauty's Release", Anne Rice makes the forbidden side of passion a doorway into the hidden regions of the psyche and the heart.
Part of the allure of this version for me was a release from the utter crudity of the European castle and village. Religious and philosophical thoughts of the region combine to show them that they are simply cogs in a grander scheme, and they take pleasure and freedom in this anonymity.
The first moment of their sultanic experience is to be degraded even more. Their being transformed into sexual toys is considered by their captors as destroying their intellect. They thus become mute animals that have no other level of existence than this very sexual drive and desire to satisfy all sexual and also cruel pulses in the sultan and his court.
But this third volume shows the metaphoric or even allegorical dimension of the trilogy. Beyond the erotic speculation in the book, Anne Rice shows how degrading a human being leads to the discovery she says, the building of a new consciousness that will have a lasting existence. Human beings are emerging in their humanity or even humaneness through the difficulties and the challenges they encounter, and first of all the degrading and enslaving situations. The more overpowered one is, the greater his psychological strength. This is kind of optimistic because many human beings are destroyed through these experiences and experiments. But it is based on the concept of resilience in human beings : their capacity to resist degredation, not by rebelling, but by reinforcing their psyche.
Upon completing the series, it helped to think of it anthropologically as if these strange undercurrents were the results of a completely different culture. In that respect it was quite interesting to observe the push for control, compliance, dominance, and love, and question whether that can be squared with ideas of entwined aggression and tenderness. Anne Rice provides the framework and fairy tale, but readers must ultimately decide that answer for themselves.
Title Beauty's Release (Conclusion of the Erotic Adventures of Sleeping Beauty, 3) Author Anne Rice writing as A. N. Roquelaure Reviewed By Purplycookie...more
I loved this story especially when it came out in a graphic novel of the same title (loved the illustration of the Silver City). Is"Murder Mysteries"
I loved this story especially when it came out in a graphic novel of the same title (loved the illustration of the Silver City). Is it possible to kill or murder an angel? If yes, then how was it done? If yes, then what is the reason for it? If yes, then will God punish the evildoer? The story is an account of the first murder in the history of the universe, before even Cain and Abel, told from the viewpoint of Raguel, an angel whose function is to be the "Vengeance of the Lord."
The Lord: "Poor sweet Lucifer. His way will be the hardest of all my children; for there is a part he must play in the drama that is to come, and it is a grand role." Raguel: "Perhaps it is true that all that happens is in accordance with Your Will, and thus it is good. But sometimes You leave blood on Your instruments."
I gained a totally new perspective on angels because of this great story. Thank you, Gaiman!
"Snow, Apples, Glass"
You will never think of the fairy tale "Snowhite and the Seven Dwarves" the same way again, especially when one hears the story from the stepmother's perspective. Creepy, disturbing and gory.
Title Two Plays for Voices CD (Audio CD) Author Neil Gaiman Reviewed By Purplycookie...more
This is a retelling of the little known Grimm Brothers tale "Maid Maleen" but fairly drastically reworked. Dashti was born a mucker girl on the AsianThis is a retelling of the little known Grimm Brothers tale "Maid Maleen" but fairly drastically reworked. Dashti was born a mucker girl on the Asian steppes, but when her mother dies and she has no family left, she finds work as a lady's maid for Lady Saren, daughter of the ruler of Titor's Garden.
But when Dashti arrives to begin her work, she learns Lady Saren is to be shut up in a tower for seven years for disobeying her father and refusing to marry Lord Khasar; and Dashti must be shut up with her if she is to fulfill her vows as a lady's maid. What follows is the Dashti's telling (via a diary with brush-and-ink illustrations) of her entombment with Saren, and their adventures there after, from the terror of Lord Khasar to Dashti's healing mucker songs, to Khan Tegus, the nice, funny and out-of-reach ruler who may hold the keys to the girls' freedom.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. In fact, I stayed up half the night reading it (just one more page-ing myself to death). There was a slight magical realism feel to it. Dashti is an intersting character, very intelligent and strong, but also very meek and hyper-aware of her "place" in society.
It is enjoyable to watch her grow and come into her own. Lady Saren, who is very troubled and somewhat annoying, is also an enjoyable character, even in spite of her depression because it is equally pleasant to watch her grow and heal as well. Lord Khasar is truly terrifying; so many of the characters are fully realized and engaging, as is the world.
Dashti's song singing was pretty neat and I liked the fact that she wasn't the usual perfectly beautiful heroines as she was marked from birth with red splotches over her skin. Hale's writing was as fluid as ever but I felt there was something missing from it, just like the story. Maybe it proclaimed to have adventure, a lot of it, but there wasn't enough to substantiate my thirst.
The setting of the novel is another selling point: instead of the typical medieval European world, Dashti lives in the Eight Realms, a fantasy world based on medieval Mongolia. Details such as the worship of Eternal Blue Heaven, the importance of animals and the bitingly harsh conditions of the steppe help to ground the book in some of the reality of central Asia, while the many fantasy elements and imaginative cultural details that Hale adds creates a vibrant new world.