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THis author was recommended to me by dylanwolf. I do have one of her novels on my "must buy" list. What do others think of her? Which of her novels do you like best?
A fellow bookstore employee/friend gave me The Bloody Chamber. She said she was envious of my first reading of it. That she always wanted to be able to read it for the first time, all the time.
This was about 13 years ago. The book stayed with me because of her comment and I recall feeling dazzled. Honestly though, I'd have to look at it again to be able to talk about it!
Well, I've started to read some of Carter's short fiction, but I don't have a lot to say about them yet...
As a result of discussing Carter in the Readercon thread, I thought I would go back and re-read Nights at the Circus. Either that or Wise Children are good choices to begin with, both showcase an excellent writer at her peak.
One critic pointed out that most of Carter's novels can be paired together - The Magic Toyshop & Heroes & Villains; The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr Hoffman & The Passion of the New Eve; Nights at the Cirus & Wise Children - that themetically each book in the pair enhances the other.
Although I have many of her books, I still have to read almost all of them. However, I can say that The bloody chamber is a 'magic' book, and not only because it is a retelling of fairy tales (plus a few she wrote), but above all for the beauty and fluminosity (I did not invent the word, I just borrowed it from Burgess' A dead Man in Deptford) of the language.
I am also very intrigued by her great sense of humour.
It has been quite a while since I have tried to read Angela Carter. Isn't there a lot of "magic realism" in her works?
I recently read the bloody chamber and really really enjoyed it - wickedly re-written fairy tales for adults with a perversion for the macabre and gothic. I haven't read any of her other books so can't comment, but for me, it really worked as a series of short stories. Succinct and sweet and with sharp, often bloody endings like all good fairy tales.
Saying all of that what I find most interesting are the stories obliquely feminist view points - it's documented in critique of her writing, but supposedly something she denies?
I've been going through my old bookmarks and came upon this site...
From Endicott Studos, the article is titled "Old Wives Tales:
an exhibition of women's fairy tale art
old and new" and opens with a quote from Angela Carter.
I'm just beginning to read it through, but it seems so appropriate for this thread!
That's interesting, I just read a similar piece in the Guardian by A.S.Byatt. Not a current piece, but someone that intrigued me from their list of pieces on fiction.
I've read further into Carter's short fiction and her various Beauty & the Beast retellings are fascinating. I love the prose she uses for these, the sometime anacronisms, the suspense and eroticism... Even the The Bloody Chamber which brings to mind my favorite Grimm's tale, Bluebeard, is also a take on beauty and the beast. These are also fairly sensual with vivid textures and smells...
dylanwolf: do you specialise in the deaths of writers? I remember you wrote elsewhere that RLS died after making a vinaigrette. Perhaps you should start a new thread on the sybject?
I would like to point out to any out to any confused readers, RLS died of a brain hemorrhage, and not because of his vinaigrette, which although generally judged as disappointing, was not found to be lethal.
With regards to Carter, one does have to contemplate the "what if?" if just for a moment. According to a 2006 article in The Independent, she is currently the most studied British author...
dylanwolf: do you specialise in misinforming us of author's deaths? What exactly are you up to?
Good luck with Wise Children, Amanda. I'm lining up The Magic Toyshop as my next read. Its one Angela Carter I haven't read and I don't want to miss out on the fun.
Re-authorial mortality did you know that the 27th of March is the first anniversary of the death of Stanislaw Lem, author of Solaris, His Master's Voice and many other excellent sci-fi novels, in Cracow?
Lem had strong opinions about sci-fi and considered most British and American work to be "spoiled, spineless, frivolous and intellectually void" (although he didn't always sugar-coat his criticisms). For Lem alien worlds were always entirely and extraordinarily alien and often beyond human comprehension.
He was born in Lvov and remained there during the war, working for the Polish resistance. His 70-odd books have been translated into 35 languages and sold at least 27 million copies.
Until I inadvertently left my book in Maine this afternoon, I was reading Nights at the Circus. What an incredible book! First there is the voice of the main character, the prose, o the prose! the story is riveting, and we the reader are left in the same position as the reporter. Does this famous aerielist really have wings? Not to mention the various feminist readings of and delicious ironies in the story....
Imagine if she had lived to write more, imagine!
While reading Nights, I became curious as to when it was published in relation to when Handmaid's Tale was published. As a matter of note, Nights at the Circus was published in 1984; Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale was first published in 1985.
It struck me that the novel is about a woman who has wings and the ability, albeit somewhat limited, to fly (or perhaps it is all an illusion...I have not finished the book and I wouldn't include a spoiler anyway). Somehow, in considering this; Handmaids came to mind. I will have to mull more on this. My brain works in odd ways sometimes...
Finished Wise Children last week - it certainly was a worthy read. Clever and funny.
I am fascinated with this woman's writing. She is able to wield what could arguably be called purple prose with great skill; it's really remarkable. Her use of language, her literary voice, is energizing and sometimes just makes me involuntarily smile.
Always lovely to see a nice article on Ms. Carter:
Interesting, but not necessarily true - Nights at the Circus was very well-reviewed when first issued, and sold well. It was a surprise when it was not included on the shortlist - and it can't be because the panel was anti-feminist: three women were on the shortlist, and Anita Brookner won. (That was also a surprise - Empire of the Sun was the favourite). It was only in the 1970s that her work had difficulty getting an audience: which may partly be problems with the novels - even now, The Passion of the New Eve and The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr Hoffman divide opinion.
Has anyone read Shadow Dance? I saw it at the bookstore and it looked interesting.
I read Shadow Dance and I'm still not sure what I think. It did make me want to read more of Angela Carter's books.
Recently read Love. It's a very good book about a love triangle teetering on the edge of madness.
It's been a while since I read it, but I thought Love was wonderfully Gothic and a bit of a homage to Poe.
Finished Several Perceptions which I enjoyed.
Interesting article about Angela Carter here:
1991 interview here:
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