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Fireworks by Angela Carter

Fireworks (1974)

by Angela Carter

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enjoyed the autobiographical details ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
In the author's afterword to this volume, she terms these short fictions "tales," rather than "stories," explaining that the story is supposed to offer credibility of character and place, while tales operate in a freer field of narrative. Consciously working in the vein of Poe and Hoffman, then, Angela Carter offers pieces telling of various obsessions, dreams, enchantments, and transformations. All were written in the early 1970s, during which she spent two years living in Japan. Accordingly, there are three of these stories that are from the perspective of an Englishwoman in Japan.

Other pieces -- notably "Master" (which is the basis of the cover illustration for my Quartet Books paperback copy) and "Penetrating to the Heart of the Forest" seem to be meditations on the relationship between Western culture and the "savage," uncivilized humans and non-humans alike. "The Loves of Lady Purple" is a weird tale centering on outre puppetry, and "The Executioner's Beautiful Daughter" is as unrelentingly gruesome as the darkest tales of Clark Ashton Smith. But my favorite one in the book is the longish and highly surreal "Reflections," which centers on a novel vision of Baphomet.
4 vote paradoxosalpha | Sep 22, 2014 |
Returning to the story, "Penetrating to the Heart of the Forest"-- longing for an Edenic thrill and this fits the bill. ( )
  allyshaw | Apr 4, 2013 |
9 short stories from Angela Carter. As always Carter plays with language enveloping us in rich, dense prose. This is a strange collection though - ranging from the experiences of an unnamed European woman (or women) in Japan in A Souvenir of Japan, The Smile of Winter and Flesh and the Mirror; life in remote areas in stories such as The Executioner's Beautiful Daughter; Penetrating to the Heart of the Forest and Master; to the even more fantastical - The Loves of Lady Purple and Reflections and one set in London in a time that seems like the 1970's to me but a London on the verge of anarchy - Elegy for a Freelance.

I did enjoy reading this collection but I think this is one for established Carter fans. The brevity of the stories doesn't leave much space for character and all of the stories, except for the last, are more about the imagery and ideas. ( )
2 vote calm | Sep 1, 2012 |
Nine unsettling stories, some fantasy (one of which, The Loves of Lady Purple, I've read before) and some about a young European woman living in Japan and her feelings of alienation, which I didn't like so much as she was too self-absorbed and nothing much happened in them.

"I should have liked to have had him embalmed and been able to keep him beside me in a glass coffin, so that I could watch him all the time and he would not have been able to get away from me". ( )
  isabelx | Feb 26, 2011 |
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Here is the ritualism of Tokyo where lovers ponder intangible reflections of themselves, 'reflections of nothing but appearances, in a city dedicated to seeming', and the 'velvet nights spikes with menace' of a wasted London, poised on the brink of destruction. Here also is the marionette Lady Purple, the quintessence of eroticism, whose electric energy is unleashed by a kiss, and the executioner's daughter whose pastel beauty shines incongruously amidst the chronic malevolence of a mountain community fit for Wagnerian cycles. In these short stories Angela Carter pinpoints the symbolism of city streets and weaves allegories around the forests and jungles of imaginary landscapes.
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