Cate's Reviews > The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories

The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter
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's review
Nov 29, 2007

it was amazing
Recommended for: anyone who likes excellent, specific writing or real fairytales
Read in November, 2007

Angela Carter! How have I missed her all these years? My only guess is it's because she's English, and American lit and British lit still doesn't pass seamlessly over the channel. But Angela Carter! What a writer! The style is elegant and OLD, although she's very recent--I felt like I was reading a modern, female Charles Dickens! In my opinion, the best stories in the collection are the title story, a retelling of the Bluebeard tale, and "The Tiger's Bride," a re-visioning of Beauty and the Beast. Carter's details are so lovely, syntax clean. I've excerpted the following from "The Bloody Chamber" to attempt doing Carter justice:

"'There is a striking resemblance between the act of love and the ministrations of a torturer,' opined my husband's favorite poet; I had learned something of the nature of that similarity on my marriage bed. And now my taper showed me the outlines of a rack. There was also a great wheel, like the ones I had seen in woodcuts of the martyrdoms of the saints, in my old nurse's little store of holy books. And - just one glimpse of it before my little flame caved in and I was left in absolute darkness - a metal figure, hinged at the side, which I knew to be spiked on the inside and to have the name: the Iron Maiden."

I wanted to give more a more beautiful passage but I'm afraid I'd give something crucial away, and it really pays to let Carter impress you with her choices. The Bloody Chamber is a collection that also deals with Puss in Boots, two versions of Little Red Riding Hood, the most famous of Carter's adaptions is "In the Company of Wolves" and it was made into a terrible movie with Angela Lansbury, but don't judge Carter on that. Also here: two vampire stories, werewolf stories, a brief Snow White and another version of Beauty and the Beast. Definitely worth checking out for the holidays--a very satisfying read--so little in the nature of a "gray area" and I find that very refreshing.

*Also* excellent models for fiction students--specific, pertinent details, set expectations that are carried through in one form or the other, and reasonable, responsible character development in the nature of literature.
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Laren Katherine,

You should read her 'Nights at the Circus.' Lovely!

<3 Laren

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