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The Bloody Chamber (1979)

by Angela Carter

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,9341381,810 (4.06)429
From familiar fairy tales and legends - Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Puss in Boots, Beauty and the Beast, vampires and werewolves - Angela Carter has created an absorbing collection of dark, sensual, fantastic stories.
  1. 40
    There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbour's Baby: Scary Fairy Tales by Lyudmila Petrushevskaya (alalba)
  2. 41
    The Sandman: The Doll's House by Neil Gaiman (kraaivrouw)
  3. 30
    We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (sturlington)
  4. 31
    The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (LizzieG)
    LizzieG: Dark reworkings of classic fairy tales
  5. 31
    Red as Blood; or, Tales from the Sisters Grimmer by Tanith Lee (guyalice)
    guyalice: Both are very dark collections of fairy tale retellings from master storytellers.
  6. 20
    Needles & Bones by Various (MinaKelly)
    MinaKelly: Grown up fairy tales, with a literary bent and an undeniable intensity
  7. 10
    The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington by Leonora Carrington (andomck)
    andomck: Angela Carter was influenced by Leonora Carrington
  8. 00
    Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado (mooingzelda)
    mooingzelda: Machado's stories also delve deeply into fairytale and myth, but put a very modern slant on these to examine what it is to be a woman and queer.
  9. 00
    Night's Master by Tanith Lee (andomck)
    andomck: Dark, gothic fantasies
  10. 00
    Black-Winged Angels by Angela Slatter (AngelaJMaher)
  11. 00
    The Odditorium: Stories by Melissa Pritchard (hairball)
  12. 01
    Enchanted: Erotic Bedtime Stories for Women by Nancy Madore (MyriadBooks)
  13. 02
    The Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault by Charles Perrault (edwinbcn)
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» See also 429 mentions

English (138)  Spanish (2)  All languages (140)
Showing 1-5 of 138 (next | show all)
I don't usually rate books that I do not finish, but the two stories I read were that bad so I am opening an exception. I read two stories and a half and that was all I could take.

This book is known for darker versions of fairy tales, but I think the correct word is disgusting. Not dark exactly. I think there is a difference.
I also heard that this is supposedly feminist, but after reading about a girl getting raped with the approval of another woman and another girl happily killing her grandmother I was like the famous slow blink guy gif. Honestly, do people even know what the word feminist means? Because every time a book is marketed like that there seems to be women hating on other women.
The writing was a mess. The stories I read until the end were so short that it wasn't as noticeable, but the one I left unfinished jumped from first person to second to third in each paragraph. Wth was that? Pick one! The sentences are so long and confusing that I quickly forgot what the author was on about. All I know is that it wasn't anything important.

Unfortunately, I own this book and it does have a pretty cover. I need to get rid of it though. In the meantime I will just hide it somewhere so I don't have to look at it and get angry.
( )
  elderlingfae | Aug 11, 2022 |
This collection is a group of fairy tales, rewritten, reimagined, and given the sensual, sexual connotations that are only implied in the originals. They are not lewd, they are tactile. These are stories as familiar as our childhood beds, but these are not fairy tales for children.

The Bloody Chamber is a retelling of Perrault’s Bluebeard fairy tale. I had recently read a collection of stories by Margaret Atwood in which this story was retold, so it was interesting to contrast what the two authors did with the same tell. Angela Carter has a marvelous skill for describing the eerie and setting the mood, and she is all suggestion and atmosphere.

“Soon”, he said in his resonant voice that was like the tolling of a bell, and I felt, all at once, a sharp premonition of dread that lasted only as long as the match flared and I could see his white, broad face as if it were hovering, disembodied, above the sheets, illuminated from below like a grotesque carnival head.

We know our lady is in peril from the outset, but we little expect how the rest of her story will unfold. Carter is inventive.

I particularly enjoyed the next two tales, The Courtship of Mr. Lyon and The Tiger’s Bride. Both are retellings of Beauty and the Beast, with The Tiger’s Bride being a reverse tale in which the girl changes into a beast at the end, rather than the other way around. It is not the only reversal in the tale, and the contrasts were beautifully conceived and executed. Both have the rose of virginity, the sexual desire of the heroine exploited, the them of inner darkness, the insecurity of the beast, and the poor girl who is traded by her father to regain his lost fortune. What is amazing is how differently she constructs the plot elements, so that the tales, while essentially the same, are so vastly different. This isn't Disney's Belle.

My father, of course, believed in miracles; what gambler does not?

I drew the curtains to conceal the sight of my father’s farewell, my spite was sharp as broken glass.

A few less captivating, but well-written, tales follow: Puss in Boots; The Snow Child (which I found a bit disturbing); The Lady of the House of Love (a vampire tale); The Erl King (a tale of seduction and enlightenment); and Wolf-Alice.

Then another pair of tales that turn Little Red Riding Hood on its head. The Werewolf which has a sinister twist of betrayal, with the Grandmother paying the price, and The Company of Wolves which has Red submitting to sex with the wolf, which wins the day.

These stories served as bedtime fare for me, but they are far from being soothing or sleep-inducing. If you are not careful, they will, rather, induce nightmares.



( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
Gothic retellings of familiar fairy tales. Definitely more horror than happy ever after. ( )
  sriddell | Aug 6, 2022 |
One of my eternal favorites. Beautiful, intricate, slightly anachronistic style of writing, which is always perfectly in place and never ever pretentious. ( )
  Wolfseule23 | Aug 6, 2022 |
The Bloody Chamber [3/5]
The Courtship of Mr Lyon [2/5]
The Tiger's Bride [4/5]
Puss-in-Boots [4/5]
The Erl-King [3/5]
The Snow Child [2/5]
The Lady of the House of Love [4/5]
The Werewolf [1/5]
The Company of Wolves [2/5]
Wolf-Alice [2/5]

Well that was a very random assortment of bits. A mix of the more disney-like folktales and the more supernatural aspects of folklore. A lot of them do just feel like unfinished scraps.

Three really good pieces though made it worth the price of admission. ( )
  wreade1872 | Jul 25, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 138 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Carter, Angelaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Armitage, RichardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bassery, ChristineIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bikadoroff, RoxannaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fox, EmiliaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Karash, IgorIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lanati, BarbaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marsh, JamesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simpson, HelenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warner, MarinaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I remember how, that night, I lay awake in the wagon-lit in a tender, delicious ecstasy of excitement, my burning cheek pressed against the impeccable linen of the pillow and the pounding of my heart mimicking that of the great pistons ceaselessly thrusting the train that bore me through the night, away from Paris, away from girlhood, away from the white, enclosed quietude of my mother's apartment, into the unguessable country of marriage.
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From familiar fairy tales and legends - Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Puss in Boots, Beauty and the Beast, vampires and werewolves - Angela Carter has created an absorbing collection of dark, sensual, fantastic stories.

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From familiar fairy tales and legends -- Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Puss-in-Boots, Beauty and the Beast, vampires, werewolves -- Angela Carter has created an absorbing collection of dark, sensual, fantastic stories. -- from the back of the book. Contents:
  • The Bloody Chamber
  • The Courtship of Mr Lyon
  • The Tiger's Bride
  • Puss-in-Boots
  • The Erl-King
  • The Snow Child
  • The Lady of the House of Love
  • The Werewolf
  • The Company of Wolves
  • Wolf-Alice
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