Isabelle's Reviews > Heroes and Villains

Heroes and Villains by Angela Carter
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's review
Jan 28, 14

Read from August 08 to 10, 2011

Another lush work by Carter, as usual, if brutal. The ending was devastatingly abrupt, but I enjoyed the frightening, beautiful, tense dynamic between Marianne and Jewel. I also liked the verdant aspect to the novel, the idea of savagery amidst nature and vegetation—not necessarily in contention, either, just merely in apposition. I'm in such awe of how all her characters manage to be so filthy (both figuratively and literally) and beautiful and disgusting and human all at once; I'm in awe of her honesty, so to speak. It's a relevant book, I think, and of the utmost pertinence to modern society, its forms of segregation, and the fluidity of perception, and if I had to choose one thing I admire most about Carter's writing, it's that I've never once found her preachy or pedantic. I think she questions and postulates more than she actively argues, and for that reason her female characters are so wonderfully nuanced—never insistently drawn along the path of empowerment in the Strong Female Character vein, but left to fend for themselves instead, remaking or giving up aspects of themselves, assimilating the elements of their environment. Reading her, reading about these characters, is like wading through a deluge of confused schizophrenia, but that very unpredictability makes the moments of conviction, self-belief, and determination tenfold more uplifting: it confers upon them a revelatory importance.

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