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Black Venus (1986)

by Angela Carter

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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6601525,022 (3.98)42
A collection of short stories- 'BLACK VENUS' displays the superbly witchy Angela Carter at her best. Her fabulous fables all speak for themselves in tones so commanding you feel this must be Baudelaire's mistress, ageing, remembering, still spreading syphilis, or Lizzie Borden restless in the fatal and hot Massachusetts summer. Whatever her subject Miss Carter writes like a dream - sometimes a nightmare. And as the voices call out, the images blaze, one is saved from an excess of fantasy by earthy realism, a sudden bark of humour' - SUNDAY TELEGRAPH… (more)
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» See also 42 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
A collection of modernised and/or real-ified fairy tales. (Wow I am eloquent early in the morning.) I really liked the story based on Peter and the Wolf. Incredible writing. Some of the stories were a bit boring, so only 4 stars. ( )
  nandiniseshadri | Jul 12, 2020 |
"To rehearse the long part of dying." (!) ( )
  uncleflannery | May 16, 2020 |
I think Carter is at her best writing novels, but these short stories are still pretty grand. Little snippets of postcolonialist feminist academia is perhaps a better description than "story", however. ( )
  therebelprince | Apr 27, 2020 |
Nice collection of short stories by the journalis Angela Carter with deliriously delicious complex language and each story engaging in one or other form. Shows the power of female authors.

The strongest story is the titular one 'Black Venus' its a small personal history about Charles Baudelaires muse. An ingenious tale in which Carter masterfully weaves poems of Baudelaires 'les Fleurs du Mal.'
Favorite passage by this muse:
'Down there, far below, where the buttocks of the world slim down again, if you go far south enough you reach again the realm of perpetual cold that begins and ends our experience of this earth, those ranges of ice mountains where the bull-roaring winds bay and bellow and no people are, only the stately penguin in his frock coat not unlike yours, Daddy, the estimable but, unlike you uxorious penguin who balances the precious egg on his feet while his dear wife goes out and has a good time as the Antartic may afford.
If Daddy where like a penguin, how much more happy we should be, there isn't room for two albatrosses in this house.' ( )
  Nicolai-Michiel | Mar 2, 2019 |
Angela Carter's prose is mesmerising... an absolute pleasure to read. She straddles the dreamworld between myth and reality, and her writing matches her imagination. Apart from that, all the eight "pieces" (one cannot call them stories, I think) in this slim volume are delightfully unconventional: subversive, if you like.

The title story, written from the POV of Baudelier's mistress, portrays her as a simple girl, out to make a living on the mean streets. Whatever persona the poet imposes on her is his fantasy, a typical male fantasy which objectifies the female for the satisfaction of his desire. Similarly, in "Our Lady of the Massacre", a "victim" of Indian captivity provides a captivity narrative significantly different from the conventional ones.

But I think the gem of the collection is the last story, which delves into the mind of Lizzie Borden. It is almost like a script, and the story unfolds like a movie in the reader's mind.

If you love the English language, this is the book for you. ( )
  Nandakishore_Varma | Sep 28, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Carter, Angelaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ambros, AleksandraTł.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lanati, BarbaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sutton, Philipsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A collection of short stories- 'BLACK VENUS' displays the superbly witchy Angela Carter at her best. Her fabulous fables all speak for themselves in tones so commanding you feel this must be Baudelaire's mistress, ageing, remembering, still spreading syphilis, or Lizzie Borden restless in the fatal and hot Massachusetts summer. Whatever her subject Miss Carter writes like a dream - sometimes a nightmare. And as the voices call out, the images blaze, one is saved from an excess of fantasy by earthy realism, a sudden bark of humour' - SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

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