PurplyCookie's Reviews > The Bloody Chamber

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
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's review
Apr 30, 09

bookshelves: fantasy, horror, short-stories, mythic-fiction, lost-book, fairy-tale, retellings
Read in April, 2008

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 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."

Wolf-Alice >> think Gothic castles & dank graveyards...

Book Details:

Title The Bloody Chamber
Author Angela Carter
Reviewed By Purplycookie
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PurplyCookie Thanks for liking my review, Chris! :)

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