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The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington

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4.11  ·  Rating details ·  885 ratings  ·  131 reviews
Surrealist writer and painter Leonora Carrington (1917-2011) was a master of the macabre, of gorgeous tableaux, biting satire, roguish comedy, and brilliant, effortless flights of the imagination. Nowhere are these qualities more ingeniously brought together than in the works of short fiction she wrote throughout her life.

Published to coincide with the centennial of her
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Paperback, First Edition, 215 pages
Published April 28th 2017 by Dorothy
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Lenny Possibly Susan Aberth's book, Leonora Carrington: Surrealism, Alchemy and Art. You can also find many illustrations of Carrington's work in Surreal…morePossibly Susan Aberth's book, Leonora Carrington: Surrealism, Alchemy and Art. You can also find many illustrations of Carrington's work in Surreal Friends: Leonora Carrington, Remedios Vara, Kati Horna. There's also a recent book by Joanna Moorhead, The Surreal Life of Leonora Carrington, which I've not read but I think is more of a biography than a compendium of her art.(less)

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Nate D
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I can't remember at this point how I determined that Surrealism was somehow essential to my artistic (sub)consciousness. It feels like it was always there. I do know that this had really nothing to do with the most iconic (stereotyped) gestures from Dali or Breton, who I somewhat instinctively steered around, and more to with haunting Ernst landscapes and peculiar furred tableware lurking in the collections of the Met and MoMA, as well as oneiric guideposts glowing within filmed and written ...more
Annelies
Dec 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Very peculiar tales. A lot of mad imagination, sometimes funny but often very usettling. Some tales did something to me that did frighten me. They feel full of subtle horror. It was like they were fairytales but a bit gruesome. Very surreal also. I am not sure what to think of them...
Nancy Oakes
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This morning I pulled up my normal news feed and to my great pleasure, there was a link to an article at Literary Hub entitled "Your Surrealist Literature Starter Kit," where your eye first lands on Leonora Carrington's "Self-Portrait." As it happens, that particular painting serves as cover art for this book, which collects all of Carrington's short stories. In that post, Emily Temple says the following:

"These stories are weird and jagged and enchanting, fragmented and strikingly visual,
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Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Dec 17, 2016 marked it as i-want-money
Shelves: short-stories
Friend Jonathan brought this Forthcoming to my attention. Forthcoming (April '17) from Dorothy, A Publishing Project::
http://dorothyproject.com/?book=the-c...

“This definitive collection of Carrington’s short fiction is a treasure and a gift to the world. A stunning achievement.” --Jeff Vandermeer

As always in cases like these, do not miss Nate D's reviews of Carrington ::
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
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S̶e̶a̶n̶

Despite having previously read all but the last three of these stories (reviewed in more depth here and here), I still enjoyed them just as much during this second read. And because they are so brilliantly original and off-the-wall absurd, I had forgotten many of them, so it sometimes felt like I was reading them for the first time. What sets these stories apart from other surrealist/absurdist tales for me is the strength of Carrington's first-person narrators, who navigate through sometimes
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Marko
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Leonora Carrington was an English-Mexican surrealist painter and a mighty talented one, if you ask me. During her life, she wrote a novel, a short memoir and many stories (in English, French and Spanish), all collected in a single book for the first time ever.

She writes as a painter; sentences are short and simple, but the choice of words is haunting, as are the stories/images, for her stories seem like sketches for surrealist paintings, filled with emotions, mythology, fantasy, carefully
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Laura
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Like her art, Carrington’s short stories are a mix of the bizarre and disturbing, with a smattering of humor thrown in here and there.
Quiver
Sep 20, 2017 rated it really liked it

How can anybody be a person of quality if they wash away their ghosts with common sense?


Reading is an unnatural act. Unlike the appreciation of aural and visual arts, reading requires conscious effort even before deep interpretations are sought. Children see, smell, touch, hear, and learn to speak, before they master the written word. It’s the hardest form of basic communication. Harder still if it courts the edge of the expected by riding upside down on the underbelly of unnatural beings while
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Guttersnipe Das
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I remember reading the Mary Ann Caws anthology, Surrealist Painters and Poets, and loving the selection of Leonora Carrington’s stories more than anything else in that treasure-house of a book. The more I reread Carrington’s stories, the more ferocious they appeared. They seemed to be written as if the fast-forward button had been pushed at least 3 times, as if Kafka had teamed up with Jane Bowles in a manic, drunken, hilarious rage.

As best I could, I hunted more Carrington stories. I read them
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Jana Meixnerova
Jan 14, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was my first encounter with the literature of surrealism and, overall, it was a pleasant experience. Carrington clearly possessed a very special mind and an extraordinary imagination; her ability to create the most uncanny, bizarre worlds and exist at the intersection of fantasy and reality is mirrored both in her prose and her own life. The short stories in this book are equally whimsical and deeply unsettling, supplying the reader with constant doses of horror and confusion. While ...more
Jesse
Reading through this collection is like wandering through a protracted dream that feels always just on the verge of spiraling into a nightmare. Finishing this collection is like waking up from that dream, the details of narrative evaporating instantaneously while the random assortment of unforgettable, deeply uncanny individual moments and images remain firmly lodged in the brain.
W.B.
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dark, savage and impenitent prose. Yet penetrable as dreams, because they are, and dreams welcome us.
Andy
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
There's a lot packed into these overtly surreal, dreamlike stories, and in most cases they're quite good. They usually deliver a vague whiff of their meaning, but when they're over I was never entirely sure what it was.

The better stories are the longer ones in almost all cases. The stories that attempt the horrific are also among the best, such as "White Rabbits," "Waiting," and "The Seventh Horse." "As They Rode Along the Edge," "Pigeon, Fly!" and "Jemima and the Wolf" are also great and
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DeAnna Knippling
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Underneath all the mannikins, you still must knit your own feet.

Short odd tales of horses, girls, strange foods, and escape. As carefully engineered as clockwork, yet as fresh and spontaeous as a dream. I loved thses, and it's hard to be objective about them.

Recommended for fans of Gormenghast.
Bud Smith
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A blissfully beautiful, wacked out satire about the fabric of the universe. Here is a brilliant few sentences from The Beloved ... 'ONE LATE afternoon, passing through a narrow street, I stole a melon. The fruit man who was hidden behind his fruits seized me by the arm and said to me: “Señorita, I’ve been waiting for an occasion like this for forty years. I have spent forty years hidden behind this pile of oranges with the hope that someone would steal a fruit from me. I will tell you why; I ...more
Selena Chambers
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed being able to read these stories deeper through my read-a-long at WeirdFictionReview.com. Carrington's stories are disarming and delightful. If you are curious of my thoughts and reactions to individual stories within this great collection, please follow these links.

Hyenas, Horses, and Rabbits, Oh My: A Read-A-Long Journey Through the Leonora Carrington Century

Part I: http://weirdfictionreview.com/2017/05...

Part II: http://weirdfictionreview.com/2017/07...

Part III:
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T.D. Whittle
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews, dnf
Clever and funny satires, in many ways, but I am just not enjoying these fairy tales and fables as I thought I would. I suspect they are too dark and bitter for me; qualities which are good in coffee and chocolate, but not stories. They do not enchant me as Carrington's paintings do.
Esther Espeland
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love her! She’s such a lil freak I feel like we would be great pals! I rly let myself take my time with this one! I rly enjoyed the stories when I let myself savor them so I’d only read one at a time! Def going to look into more surrealism
Juliana
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"My head is a bier for my thoughts, my body a coffin."
Barbette
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
It has happened again: a book that I dreaded reading and put off for as long as I could has deeply rewarded me. Carrington's stories are fairy tales, full of whimsical, beautiful, and sometimes horrible imagery, that speak to our innermost fears, hurts, and psychological complexities.

As a trained visual artist with an interest in simplicity and editing, I shy away from surrealist art.

As a casual reader and an untrained writer, I find Carrington's surrealist words and phrasing, and the pictures
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Jane Talbot
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
*WOAH* *Wild, witty and mind-bending* 'Once I was a great beauty and attended all sorts of cocktail-drinking, prize-giving-and-taking, artistic demonstrations and other casually hazardous gatherings organised for the purpose of people wasting other people's time.' This collection of 22 Surrealist stories is a fabulous read. I had to keep stopping in the beginning just to entertain more fully the ideas and images Carrington offers. By the time I was halfway through, my mind was generating all ...more
Marie-Therese
4.5 stars.

Absolutely delightful collection of outrageously strange, colourful, mordant, and sly stories.

No matter what the setting (a proper English garden, a Celtic fairyland, a European metropolis, or a Mexican jungle), Carrington brings it to vivid artist's life and peoples it with the oddest characters imaginable. Kudos to Dorothy for bringing these stories together in a single collection and to the excellent translators for bringing out an essential Carrington voice even when working from
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Mark
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
there is something of the classical upbringing being slowly plucked apart like he loves me, loves me not in these stories. talking horses, pedestrian magic, and a truth that has nothing to do with facts or realness.
Sasha
Sep 22, 2018 rated it liked it
I bought this book because I read the first story in the store and thought it was cool and weird and funny and also I liked the cover. But I know nothing about surrealism and did not understand a single story— mostly just kinda left me amused and confused. Hope to revisit one day!
Anna Marie
Feb 17, 2019 rated it liked it
3 - 4 stars depending on the story!
André Habet
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Such strange stories that exemplify a delight in using language like alchemy, making impossible occurrences and transformation happen with nary a raised eyebrow. Often funny in a laugh out loud way, Carrington's got some great bits of satire among these stories. I had trouble following a few and there are others that felt undercooked, but overall I am really glad to have encountered Carrington's work in this beautiful volume.
Christopher
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A ravenously surreal and wry collection of fantastical stories. Humans proudly reject societal conservatism, in ways both darkly funny and horrific. Some stories brilliantly approach more as artistic tableaus or prose poems; Carrington may be more widely known for her surreal paintings. Sentient horses and hyenas invite humans to switch places at debutante balls, or to reconsider their place in the hierarchy of civilization. Savage feasts commingle with Eros, in turn spiked with death and ...more
William
Jun 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
I have long thought I liked surrealistic writing (I certainly love the art). and have enjoyed writers like Donald Barthelme. But this group of stories just did not work for me. I noticed that another reader saw parallels to the writing of Clarice Lispector, which was helpful, because I had a similar reaction to that author's stories. To me, the best portion of this book was the astute introduction of Kathryn Davis.

While the stories are all carefully different and each word is clearly placed in
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Adam
Jul 11, 2017 rated it liked it
People throw the word "dreamlike" around a lot in describing weird and surreal fiction but Carrington (unsurprisingly, as a competent Surrealist) had capturing dreaminess down to a craft. These stories have the bizarre imagery and juxtapositions you'd expect, the strange deformations of the human body, the absurd-taken-for-granted, but they also grasp the social dimension of dreams, how deeply they are driven by our ideas of ourselves and our place against other people, real or archetypal. And ...more
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Leonora Carrington was an English-born Mexican artist, surrealist painter, and novelist. She lived most of her adult life in Mexico City, and was one of the last surviving participants in the Surrealist movement of the 1930s. Carrington was also a founding member of the Women’s Liberation Movement in Mexico during the 1970s.
“Even though you won't believe me
my story is beautiful
And the serpent that sang it
Sang it from out of the well.”
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“My head is a bier for my thoughts, my body a coffin.” 5 likes
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