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1. The Bloody Chamber: And Other
2. Burning Your Boats: The Collected
3. The Passion of New Eve (Virago
4. The Magic Toyshop
5. Nights at the Circus (Oberon Modern
6. Wise Children: A Novel
7. Love (King Penguin)
8. Wayward Girls and Wicked Women:
9. Angela Carter's Book of Fairy
10. The Infernal Desire Machines of
11. Shaking a Leg: Collected Journalism
12. The Sadeian Woman: An Exercise
13. Heroes and Villains
14. Fireworks: Nine Profane Pieces
15. Fireworks
16. Shadow Dance (Virago modern classics)
17. Saints and Strangers (King Penguin)
18. The Pleasure of the Feminist Text:
19. Angela Carter's Nights at the
20. Miss Z, the Dark Young Lady

1. The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories
by Angela Carter
Paperback: 128 Pages (1990-01-01)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$6.63
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 014017821X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
A reissue of a collection of short stories first published ten years ago. They include "The Company of Wolves", on which the prize-winning film of the same name was based. Angela Carter is the author of "Nights at the Circus" and "The Magic Toyshop". ... Read more

Customer Reviews (38)

5-0 out of 5 stars gift
i bought this book for my sis since for her bday i bought her another angela carter book and she LOVED it...thus i'm going to continue buying them for her. i started reading it as well since i have it till xmas, ms carter is pure brilliance....terrifying...but brilliant none the less

1-0 out of 5 stars not for me
I've always liked fairy tales and just recently saw the movie Company of Wolves for the first time based on a couple of these stories.I had mixed feelings about the movie - it was weird, disjointed, boring, and yet sometimes intriguing all at the same time.Certainly, it tried- not entirely successfully - to capture a fairy tale atmosphere that not many movies have tried to do and I had to applaud the attempt.It did succeed in inspiring me to try reading the book.Similar to the movie, it was weird, disjointed, boring . . . and lacked anything intriguing.The closest I came to a strong feeling about this was distaste since it read more like horror than a fairy tale and lacked any attempt to make you like any of the characters.Cannot recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Rich sensual imagery and women with guts
"The Bloody Chamber" is a collection of stories exploring traditional tales where the woman comes out the worse, or is stripped of agency. Carter places the (usually female) protagonists at the center of the decisions and power that move the action or resolve the story.

The title story is a re-imagining of Bluebeard in which the young bride is a fully fleshed character rather than a cipher, and female family connections prove crucial. Puss In Boots (which is wonderfully witty and bawdy) positions the female love interest as a co-conspirator rather than an object. The Lady Of The House Of Love presents a vampire queen with consciousness and horror for her situation, neatly skewering the "predatory sexual woman" theme of more traditional vampire stories. An inside-out Red Riding Hood reveals a virgin who is no morsel ripe for the plucking.

The writing evokes texture and scent with lush descriptions of soil, skin, blood, even dust in the air. It's infused throughout with sensual themes -- this is a universe in which women have sexual appetites and lust is no more a sin than any other hunger. It leans toward the dark, which I liked because traditional fairy tales have always also been dark and often grisly.

Read it on a night in with wind howling around the house, in a scented bath with candles and incense, or in an apple orchard golden with the smell of fruit and grass in the sun. And take your time.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Nothing Human Lives Here..."
According to the introduction by Helen Simpson in my copy of Angela Carter's "The Bloody Chamber," the author herself is adverse to the description of this anthology as "retold, adult fairytales." Instead she claims that: "my intention was not to do "versions"...but to extract the latent content from the traditional stories and to use it as the beginnings of new stories."

That is as may be, but the truth is that the simplest way to describe "The Bloody Chamber" is to say that it is a collection of reworked fairytales geared toward adult readership. Ten in all, each one is based on an old fairytale, and Carter explores her own personal ideas and understanding of these familiar stories in her "new stories;" being particularly concerned with the metaphorical meanings that are inherent in each one.

Perhaps the best way to describe them is to say that they have echoes of the old symbolism and imagery of the old tales, but act as "remakings" rather than "retellings." As such, what is gathered here is a series of stories that delve into themes of sexuality, femininity, mutability, transformation and the capability of humankind for change and growth. It is not for the faint-of-heart reader, for often these stories can be violent, crude or grotesque. At their core, all fairytales are about two things: life and death, and in "The Bloody Chamber" they are transposed and presented as sex and violence.

Yet there is an hypnotic quality to them in their atmosphere and resonance that kept me hooked (and certainly leaves room for multiple re-reads).

Carter's language is opulent, rich, sensual and complex. That sentence is a preview of what you'll find in this book, as Carter seems to adhere to the general rule that no noun must go without an adjective - or several. Yet it never seems to tip into purple prose, not even when she's comparing water-stains on the dark red wallpaper to the indentations left by lovers on black satin sheets. (Of course, if any of that just made your eyes hurt, then it's certainly best to give "The Bloody Chamber" a miss).

Yet it didn't bother me at all: perhaps it was Carter's mastery of language, or the fact that sensory pleasures are such an important part of the narratives, or perhaps such dense prose just works better in short-story form. Like eating dark chocolate or drinking red wine: you can't have too much of it, but it works extremely well in small doses.

Exploring these stories on your own makes up most of the enjoyment of the book, so I won't give too much away in regards to the content of the stories. However, they range in length from the almost-novella size of the titular story "The Bloody Chamber", based on the story of Bluebeard and his murdered wives, to the page-long "The Snow Child", a sort-of inverse version of Snow White in which the maiden is born out of her father's desire as opposed to her mother's.

There are the comparable "The Courtship of Mr Lyon" and "The Tiger's Bride," both of which are based on Beauty and the Beast, and both providing alternative versions of the final metamorphosis scene for your consideration. These are followed by the only truly comedic effort in the collection, "Puss-in-Boots", narrated by the cat himself in raucous, witty prose as he helps his master win a lady's heart. If a cat could talk, it would sound like this, and he has some rather wonderful gems of wisdom to share: "All good women have a missionary streak, sir; convince her that her orifice is your salvation and she's yours."

"The Erl-King" and "The Lady of the House of Love" are stories centered around a mystical, powerful character; male in the former and female in the latter. Both are based not so much on fairytales as they are on the Germanic/Romanian legends of dark elves and vampires. As Helen Simpson puts it, in each story: "lovers are lethal, traditional romantic patterns kill, and sex leads to death."

Finally there is a "trilogy" of sorts that ends the collection: "The Werewolf," "The Company of Wolves," and "Wolf-Alice," which deals with (obviously) the legend of the werewolf and the fairytale of Little Red Riding Hood. They give us three very different and intriguing points-of-view as to the nature of this particular creature, based around the archetypal figures of the wolf, the old woman, and the child. Incidentally, The Company of Wolves was adapted into a rather fascinating film that is also recommended to those who enjoy this collection.

One thing that does emerge very clearly from these stories is the subversive role of women in breaking their traditional fairytale forms. No longer passive objects of desire, they here become self-knowledgable saviours or furious harbingers of justice. And yet even then these subversions are surprising in the way they unfold. In such cases, saving someone can be an act of violence, and terrible vengeance can be construed as a merciful act.

In short: this is an anthology of intriguing, thought-provoking stories that invokes the landscapes and imagery of fairytales, a healthy dose of Gothic sensibilities and Carter's own brand of morbid beauty. I'd certainly recommend it, for though it is certainly not for everyone, it should be reasonably obvious from the outset as to whether these grim, dark fairytales would appeal to you or not.

5-0 out of 5 stars Prince Charming is a Woman - Finally, Heroines reign in fairy tales
This is the first I've read of Angela Carter and the book is wonderful.Amazingly beautifully written revisioned fairy tales that put women characters in control of the action.A consciously re-imagined set of stories where there is no damsel in distress - poetic, beautiful, and everything you wish those stories you grew up on showed you long ago. ... Read more

2. Burning Your Boats: The Collected Short Stories
by Angela Carter
Paperback: 480 Pages (1997-08-01)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$9.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140255281
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
From reflections on jazz and Japan through vigorous refashionings of classic fairy tales to stunning snapshots of modern life in all its tawdry glory, Burning Your Boats charts the evolution of Angela Carter's marvelous magic vision in a volume that assembles her considerable legacy of short fiction, including early and previously unpublished stories.Amazon.com Review
"Baudelaire, Poe, Dream-Shakespeare, Hollywood,panto, fairy tale: [Angela] Carter wears her influences openly, forshe is their deconstructionist, their saboteur." So writes Salman Rushdiein his introduction to this essential dark fantasy collection, thecomplete stories (1962-1993) of a master of perfervid prose, darkeroticism, northern Gothic exuberance (think Isak Dinesen),and GrandGuignol imagery. (You may be familiar with Neil Jordan's movieThe Company of Wolves, based on one of Carter's tales.) As theNew York Times writes, "There is an archaic cruel streakin many of these stories. Violence is always a possibility; beauty andcourage and passion may prevail, but the weak and the timid go to thewall. In this, Angela Carter is true to the material that inspiredher. After all, one reason the old fairy tales have survived forhundreds of years is that they do not try to disguise what the worldis really like." ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

2-0 out of 5 stars Mediocre, at best
The book of forty-two tales is divided into six sections. The first, Early Work, 1962-6, shows little promise, but highlights the modifier-mania that would seize her career. The Man Who Loved A Double Bass follows the title's theme and ends weakly. A Very, Very Great Lady And Her Son At Home is both banal and dull. The third and final tale, A Victorian Fable (With Glossary), is a classic gimmick tale, in the vein of some of the list stories that a Donald Barthelme would indulge and that Rick Moody would orgasm over. It's told in Cockney rhyming slang, and is less than a page long- the glossary goes on much longer. It's sort of a Jabberwocky about a misogynist. One read, though, is enough to sate. There's nothing needed to learn in a reread, and the actual glossary hangs like a useless appendage- almost like T.S. Eliot's notes for The Waste Land....Simply put, Angela Carter's writing is far too often gimmicky, and plain old bad. Density of language, as in the above examples, does not equate with depth, and any depth that does occur is incidental and accidental. The writing is banal and unoriginal, as the fairy tales are neither undermined nor seriously recast, and what many apologists see as her strengths, such the incessant need to try to be new, are, in fact, he biggest weaknesses- things which will eventually consign her writing to obscurity, for bad writing is simply bad writing, not quirkiness, and to recognize the difference is to naturally be. Anything else is just acting.

4-0 out of 5 stars angela carter, where have you been hiding...
angela carter is one of my newly aquired favorite reads.her poetic insight and humor are matched by none. she is also a feminist, and has a macabre sense of direction in her stories. if you appreciate the fantastical and visually stimulating world of imagination, mixed with sexually-driven directness, try this book. very entertaining. smart but not smug. unique and creative in a world of repetitiveness...i also loved "the infernal desire machines of dr. hoffman" - a novel by carter which delighted me and made me sad to finish reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pure Magic
In 'Notes From the Front Line', Carter said that she was not in the remythologizing business but in the demythologizing business. Anna Katsavos asked Angela Carter what she meant by that. Angela said, 'Well, I'm basically trying to find out what certain configurations of imagery in our society, in our culture, really stand for, what they mean, underneath the kind of semireligious coating that makes people not particularly want to interfere with them.'

Simply stated, Angela Carter has taken icons and myths we were all raised with and given them back to us in a form we know and trust. In stories. Her stories are adult fairy tales; lush, penetrating, uninhibited and dark.

An introduction by Salman Rushdie sets the perfect tone for the reading ahead. It is the closest to gushing the man has ever come. He says, these stories are also a treasure , to savour and to hoard. They begin with her early works, from 1962-6. The Man Who Loved the Double Bass tells the story of a musician in madly love with his instrument. Could he live without her? In the section called Fireworks; Nine Profane Pieces from 1974, Carters work begins an ethereal exploration on of the psyche in achingly beautiful prose. Her ability to write fantastical tableaus is showcased. In The Executioners Daughter, an executioner is told to execute his only son. The setting, itself, becomes a character. In Penetrating to the Heart of the Forest, a brother and sister are nudged into exploring the a dark forest and its hidden fruit tree. The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories is next, featuring writings from 1979. These are fairy tales retold for adults and contains some of the most stunning and psychological erotic written. Black Venus contains writing from 1985 and American Ghosts and Old World Wonders, work from 1993. Uncollected Stories contains work from 1970-81, featuring The Scarlet House, about a woman trapped in a house by a master of Chaos.

These short stories are profane, wise, surreal, unrepentant and brilliant. The Tiger's Bride alone is worth the price of admission in to this magical world.

5-0 out of 5 stars Tiny masterpieces that will remin with you forever
Having enjoyed the novels of Angela Carter, I decided to give her short stories a try.
Written in the same poetic style, these stories require reading very slowly in order to enoy the language. The dense sybolism requires that youthink about each story for a while before proceeding to the next. In fact I would recommend reading only a few at sitting.
Like any author of short stories, Carter wrote a few that failed to draw me in. But these failures only point to the stengths of those that did.

5-0 out of 5 stars Stunning
I was first introduced to Carter in my women's lit class, with "The Company of Wolves," (which still stands as my favorite Carter story).I was shocked that I had never read any of her writing before. A few days later, I went and ordered "Burning your Boats."I haven't been disappointed.

Regardless of whether I enjoy the story (and I must admit, I haven't enjoyed all of them), I cannot help but be blown away by her writing.It literally takes my breath away.She is one of the only authors that has this effect on me.Her retellings of fairy tales leave me in awe.

The more of her I read, the more obsessed I become.She is truly an amazing writer.I constantly ask myself how anyone can be so talented.I just don't understand it. Her writing is nothing short of stunning. ... Read more

3. The Passion of New Eve (Virago Modern Classics)
by Angela Carter
Paperback: 192 Pages (1992-08-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$1.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0860683419
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This story follows Evelyn, a young Englishman, along a journey through mythology and sexuality. It is a story of how he learns to be a woman, first in the brutal hands of Zero, the ragtime Nietzsche, then through the ancient Tristessa, the beautiful ghost of Hollywood past. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Passion of New Forms
Everyone knows what the word "passion" means in ordinary usage; it's a strong feeling, often of sexual desire, and generally considered to be the opposite of reason.It means something quite different in religious terms, though.The word comes from a Latin root that means "suffering" and originally referred to the suffering of Jesus on the cross.Later, it came to mean the suffering that would lead a person to sainthood, the sensation of leaving one's body and joining with God for a time.You can see the resemblance to eroticism there.Angela Carter certainly did; the protagonist of "The Passion of New Eve" goes through both suffering and ecstasy at various junctures.

And yes, that means a certain amount of bloody sexual violence, although it stops well short of pornography.This novel isn't about sex and violence anyway; it's mostly about sin, forgiveness, self-image, and the possibility of happiness once you've learned acceptance.All for under 200 pages.

You might call "Passion" a work of science fiction, since it takes place in some not-too-distant future, but then you might as well call it a Western because most of it takes place in the southwestern desert of the United States.A young professor named Evelyn (which is a man's first name in England when pronounced EVE-linn) comes to New York for a college job, only to find that black revolutionaries are about to burn the college to the ground.These same revolutionaries then build a wall around Harlem while feminist revolutionaries take random potshots at miscellaneous men.Good times.

Evelyn begins an affair with an underage black exotic dancer, whom he abandons when she gets pregnant.Hoping in the vaguest way for some kind of renewal, he flees New York for the aforementioned desert and gets captured by a group of those feminist revolutionaries.These women live underground and worship a former plastic surgeon who has, by her art, transformed herself into a grotesque goddess-form.She takes a sperm sample from Evelyn and then surgically transforms him into a fully-functioning woman (uterus and all) named Eve.She intends to impregnate Eve with Evelyn's seed and thus transform the mythological underpinnings of Western civilization as it collapses under its own weight, whatever that means.We're about halfway through the book.Stay tuned.

All of this is revealed on the book jacket, so I have no qualms about revealing it here.I assure you, the rest of this little adventure is even more bizarre.Someone asked me a little while ago if "The Passion of New Eve" is surrealistic - that's putting it mildly.Some people enjoy creative work that goes off the deep end like this and others prefer something that deals with more recognizable events.You'll have to judge for yourself if this novel is for you.

If it helps, you might consider the fact that "Passion" has more on its mind than just getting as weird as possible.Let's put it this way; for a long time, thinkers about gender have said that bringing men and women together in understanding is difficult, since the sexes' world views and experiences are so different as to be nearly incomprehensible, one to the other.To solve this problem, Angela Carter conceives of a man who is literally turned into a woman.Well and good.Now, given that a woman's world view and experiences are so alien to a man, what experiences will this former man have?The author will not choose them at random, especially with a civil war going on in this alternate United States.And indeed, Ms. Carter chose the new Eve's experiences with a good deal of consideration, and took care to set them up right from the start of her book so as to make the impact on the character as powerful as possible.

"The Passion of New Eve", being a novel rather than a poem, does not deal in abstractions by any means.On the contrary, as I implied just now, the plot is impressively structured and logical, even though the events within it resemble nothing you've ever seen before.(This is another reason to welcome "Passion" into the science fiction pantheon - a lot of great sf does exactly the same thing - but that's a conversation for another day.)So, not abstract, but it does have at least one thing in common with great abstractionists like Jackson Pollock in painting and Ornette Coleman in jazz.Both of them disregarded the traditional formats of their art, like shape and color or key and rhythm, but did not disregard the idea of form itself or pursue chaos for its own sake.Instead, they came up with new forms and figured out the rules as they went along.That's more or less what Ms. Carter did here with traditional story form.

Having said that, it's time to get into the question of art's function.It certainly takes a kind of genius to re-invent a whole form of expression, but if the work that comes out of it leaves you cold, is it any good?Probably not.

Fortunately, if you leave yourself open to it, you can be profoundly moved by abstract painting or free jazz, and the same is true of Angela Carter and "The Passion of New Eve".Good thing, too - if you read this novel, however short, and said "So what?" at the end, it would be a waste of Ms. Carter's time and yours.Well, however goofy and/or painful this novel can be, and although there's no spectacular triumph for Evelyn/Eve at the end, believe me - this is not a waste of time.

Let's put it this way; if a selfish fool suffers terrible pain and woe, and afterwards has the chance to make a kind and charitable gesture, you might feel sad for that person, but you wouldn't call it a waste, would you?

Benshlomo says, Classic things need new shapes once in a while.

1-0 out of 5 stars Utter nonsense.
Rampaging feminism that bears no resemblance to any kind of reality, let alone this one.This novel puts forward literally no new ideas, and as it tries to do so succeeds at nothing but laugh-inducing ignorance.So perhaps my one-star rating is a tad too harsh, as there is quite a bit of unintentional fun to be had at Carter's expense.Read only if you enjoy self-mutilation and rather like the taste of bile rising in the back of your throat.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Literary Femdom Novel
An amazing book--is it still out of print? I found my copy, quite by accident, at the Strand bookstore in NYC. Its got an awful cover, so awful I picked it up just to see what it could possibly be about.

It's about an America in the not-so-distant future--an America in the midst of collapse and civil war. Militant blacks, radical feminists, Christian child-crusaders, the scattered remnants of the old authority are all fighting each other in a situation degenerating into an alchemical chaos. Into the midst of all this comes a vain young Englishman. He falls under the spell of a bewitching prostitute, takes up residence with her in a NYC ghetto, impregnates her, and then takes off alone across America in search of further adventure.

What he finds, in the middle of the desert, is an underground community of women who take him captive and subject him to the ultimate reconditioning...they are going to turn him into a woman. He will then be impregnated with his own sperm. He will bear his own child. He's the "new Eve."

So there, right in the middle of this stupendous story, our hero becomes a fetching, well-endowed blonde heroine and the adventures, Candide-like, continue through one deliciously sordid episode after another, each an aspect of the age-old gender war between the masculine and feminine principle, between history and mythology, phallocentrism and gynocentrism.

Is this novel just *too* politically incorrect for today's ideological climate? Is it too perverse? Why does it seem to be Angela Carter's least known work, when it's arguably her best and most provocative? The writing is phenomenal: lush, poetic, rich in metaphor, surreal and hyper-real. Each sentence is so finely crafted, so substantial, you can practically lift it off the page and hold it in your hand. Her imagination seems limitless. The eroticism is palpable, not only in the situations Carter invokes, the characters she creates, the images she employs, but in the very language she so ambidextrously manipulates.

But in the end, what makes *The Passion of New Eve* more than just an especially kinky sex-adventure are the very relevant--and controversial--things Carter is saying about gender. In many ways, she confirms all my own suspicions about the nature of Woman and femininity, about its fatal allure for the male of the species. In the hands of a male author, these insights would be considered misogynistic. But when a woman author of Carter's caliber and obvious intelligence characterizes the feminine principle as basically solipsistic, erotically infantile, and, therefore, ultimately, self-absorbed, self-possessed, and self-sufficient...well, what are the PC-police to do?

Men have suppressed women for centuries upon centuries...and for very good reason. Because once the cat is out of the bag there's no putting it back in again. Once women discovered their sexual power and sexual control, and once this is combined with political and economic freedom, what power do men have? Men have always instinctively understood--and feared--that women as equals are, in fact, their superiors. A woman always had the psychological control over a man; but a man had social control, economic control, political control. Up to now, a woman needed a man to provide a safe and acceptable, if very limited, arena for her psychological control: the traditional family within the patriarchal society. With the breakdown of the patriarchy, with the unleashing of her sexuality into the world at large, a woman comes to realize she doesn't need a man at all. She doesn't *need* him, but she can pick and choose, take and leave him, as she will. The balance shifts in her favor. What becomes evident is that as perfect equals it's a man who needs her, and thus the feminization of the culture, and of man, begins. The return to the Mother. The birth of a "new Eve."

All men, Carter insinuates, want to return to Mother, want to become what they so ardently desire, want to be reborn as that creature of endless fascination who seduces from behind a million masks, who endlessly replenishes, creates, and re-creates herself, all men want to become a woman.

If there is a `way out' for the dead end that men and the phallocentrism they historically represent, a hope for peace in the gender wars that have divided us until now, it's in the new fluidity of sexual boundaries that lies implicit in Carter's vision of the future--a world of technological and consequent psychological breakthroughs in which a man can be `reborn' as a woman, and society itself undergo a sexual revolution of alchemical proportions. Long live the hermaphrodite.

*The Passion of New Eve* is a book, oddly, who's time had come when it was first published, and now, some thirty years later, it finds itself ahead of its time. If you're lucky enough to locate a copy of this eroto-political classic, don't hesitate to pick it up. Perverse, poetic, controversial, it's one of those strange dangerous little flowers in the English garden of literature you'll be glad you didn't miss .

4-0 out of 5 stars uncompromising and provoking
Angela Carter makes few concessions to the ordinary reader.She is abstruse, wilful, demanding, her vocabulary is immense, her intelligence daunting.She dares to make her characters one-dimensional (though colourful and believable), her story as unlikely and fantastic as possible.

The Passion Of New Eve is set in a vividly visualised, but almost unreal U.S.A. that is rapidly disintegrating into all-out civil war.'Bizarre' might, perhaps, be an understatement when considering the plot.Amongst other things, Evelyn, a young, 'straight' young Englishman, is forced to undergo a sex-change operation that transforms him ('a change in the appearance will restructure the essence') into a perfect woman.

'Eve' is then - after an attempted escape - taken prisoner by Zero - a barbaric, one-eyed, one-legged man, and his personal harem of several 'wives', who worship him the more unquestioningly and eagerly, the more thoroughly he degrades them.

Following this, Eve - having found her true love - enjoys a sexual interlude in the desert that completes her realisation of herself as a fulfilled man-loving woman.

The best part of the novel is the beautiful ending.Here the author uses surrealistic imagery superbly in order to explore themes of time, re-birth and the inexorable power of nature.It is intensely affecting.

The whole book is held together by Carter's boldness and dazzling style.She is dreaming frightening and blackly resonant dreams, and by her artistry makes them plausible.A pity, then, that her uncompromising literary brilliance will alienate and bore those most in need of her provoking vision.

2-0 out of 5 stars An odd read at best.
My only previous exposure to Carter's work has been through her short-story collection, "The Bloody Chamber". I'd highly recommend that over this; while TBC included some stories that were hard to grasp, it also contained many witty, dark, brilliant stories that blew the classic versions out of the water.

"The Passion of New Eve" is interesting, but all I could conclude at the end was that Carter was trying very hard not to get pigeonholed into any category of writing. You can't call it a feminist piece, nor can you call it satire. Evelyn, a man who gets surgically transformed into Eve (and if transition was as easy as the sci-fi operation makes it, there would be many elated trans persons in the world) isn't a pleasant protagonist; he's at first arrogant and self-serving, then whiny, then self-serving yet again. Tristessa, his love interest, is a more fascinating character, but plays a relatively minor part. There's also plenty of rape and, for lack of more eloquent terms, nastiness that goes on before the end; I wouldn't call this light reading by any stretch of the imagination.

The writing itself is stunning, though; Carter's use of imagery and verbal texture is fantastic, and her way with detail (choosing where to include it and where to omit it, in particular) is superb. ... Read more

4. The Magic Toyshop
by Angela Carter
Paperback: 208 Pages (1996-08-01)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$11.56
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140256407
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
In this brilliantly imagined novel, Angela Carter explores the tormented world of adolescence and the heart's ability to withstand even the deepest sorrows. "A tour de force . . . put out shoots of all Carter's fascinations, which turns up in her later books: illusion and stage magic, myths and folktales, sorcery, the allure of suffering, incest, revenge, escape."--Voice Literary Supplement. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars Mythic
To declare a bias right off, I read the critical reviews and was slightly put off by the summaries which seemed to regard the story as some sort of allegory of the archetypal feminine journey to learn to live in the scary world of men.

But nevertheless, I bought it anyway, and read it over the course of an afternoon. Then I read it again. Then I read it again another three times, and tonight I'm going to start reading it a sixth time.

To put my cards on the table, if there *is* a feminine allegory in here, then I can only vaguely feel it, in the manner of someone feeling their way around a dark room. I can guess that the shapes of it are there, but feminine allegories tend to pass straight over my head as something I simply don't understand or even notice. Instead, I found myself wondering why people thought the book was about Melanie, when it was so clearly about Finn and his 'Jack the Giant Killer' journey from terrified but feckless boyhood, through slaying the monster, to responsible adulthood.

But of course the minute I say this I realize that in the best tradition of fairy tales it might contain Finn's giant-slaying, but that's not all it contains. It does also contain Melanie's journey, and the sense that neither Melanie nor Finn would have been able to achieve their journeys without each other. So it may be a feminine and a masculine allegory with the healing message that both halves need each other to be fully what they are capable of being, to break free.

Or it may not. It may be a story about Phillip, Margaret and Francie, and their weirdly Arthurian arrangement. And I must say that the enduring impression I carried away after the first two reads was how important it was to have hot water and nice soap. I will never take cleanliness for granted again!

It is, again, in the best tradition of fairy stories, because in Tolkien's words it is 'applicable' rather than 'allegorical'. It hints at a variety of meanings, it feels enlarging - as though you've learned something important - but somehow I can't quite figure out what it was. I'll have to go and read it again!

She has Tolkien's gift of being mythical, which is impressive in a story where not much happens beyond drinking cups of tea and putting on puppet shows. And she has a beautiful writing style, which makes reading about other people's dirty bathrooms and unclipped toenails a positive pleasure. I can't recommend the book enough!

Reviewed by Alex Beecroft, author of Captain's Surrender

4-0 out of 5 stars The Macabre
There is not much to the overall plot of this book. The strength of it lies within the wierd characters and dialog among them. I felt a few things were thrown in for shock value like the unexplained severed hand in the kitchen drawer or the 'don't see it coming revealed secret' at the end... that could have been either left out entirely or at best given us a hint about the secret.
The peek hole was just down right creepy and some of the descriptions like the uncle's false teeth in the jar in the bathroom made me shudder. I had trouble with Melanie's attraction to her aunt's dirty brother with his nasty breath and teeth and unwashed stinky body.However it was this sort of thing that draws you in and makes you love the book because it IS SO macabre!
The ending is lousy but in reality the whole story was not that great but it's the characters and their weirdness that will keep you reading so even with a bad ending you will go away whispering... wow...

4-0 out of 5 stars fours stars as a novel, five stars as a literary work of art and intellect
I had read The Magic Toyshop" for the first time ten years ago, in college, and was absolutely smitten with it. Now I re-read it and... I am not so uncritical of my awe. I can still admit that Carter's use of language, her ability to build the atmosphere and to get the reader into the book are superb. She maneuvres between styles, alluding to many archetypical images referring to art (Pre-Rafaelites are ever-present in this novel; all the characters seem to be directly taken out from Dante Gabriel Rosetti's paintings) and uses the symbols so that it is immediately obvious that she is an eloquent, well read author. But I have some doubts about the structure and the plot of this novel - if it is to be considered a novel, because if it is a feminist manifesto, an expression of a point of view (on many issues), or a collection of images tied together by a loose story, then it is perfect.

"The Magic Toyshop" central character is Melanie, a fifteen-year-old girl, who is just at the point of discovering her own physical femininity. Melanie spends the summer, while her parents are on the book tour in America, with her younger siblings, Jonathon, a constructor ofship models, and Victoria, a plump, overeating, cute five-year old, under care of the housekeeper, Mrs. Rundle. Melanie passes through her days daydreaming of being an adult woman (amazing wedding dress trying on scene), hoping to get married, and inventing stories, changing her life into fiction, until the terrible news about the death of her parents in the plane crash forces her, Jonathan and Victoria to move out of their beautiful house and their rich life. As orphans, the are taken into care of their mothers eccentric brother, uncle Philip. Melanie vaguely recalls him from her parents' wedding picture as well and from the repulsive gift she received from him once. She learns from Mrs. Rundle that the uncle has a wife now, which is surprising for some reason...

Uncle Philip is a toymaker who has a shop in London. Living in London, despite her shock and confusion, is an exciting prospect for Melanie. Upon their arrival, the children are picked up by their Irish aunt's brothers: Francie and Finn. On their way to the house, the kids learn that their aunt Margaret is dumb - she stopped speaking altogether on her wedding day.

Uncle Philip's house seems to Melanie small, neglected and creepy after her ordered, fashinable, posh home, and her new family a bunch of weird people, although they are oddly fascinated by all of them, especially the elvish Finn (who is an incredibly sexy young man!). Uncle Philip turns out to be an old tyrant, terrorizing the family with his peculiar ways and fond only of his puppets in his home theatre, where he makes the inscenizatons of well-known myths and tales. Or... is he really as Melanie sees him? And what is going on during the night behind the closed doors? What is Margaret's life really like?

We see everything through the eyes of Melanie, an adolescent girl with a vivid (not to say sick) imagination. The symbolic imagery evokes a lot of associations which are the food for thought. All the characters are obviously symbolic and many themes are explored, the objectivization of women (all the women basically, but especially Melanie, who cannot escape her fate in real life, she can only create the fictional reality to hide inside it), exploration of female sexuality together with its dangers (Melanie again), the importance of literacy (Aunt Margaret), the mad demiurge (uncle Philip). Despite being a clearly feminist writer (the women, even the absent ones, like Melanie's mother, represent great types and are portraited with brutal honesty, without flattery), Carter can be read on many levels and her novel a starting point for many hypotheses and discussions, there is no doubt about it. Additionally, it reads like an odd dream, everyday things have a magical quality to them, which makes it a fable and teleports the reader to a different, parralel plane. What is strange, is, first of all,the ending. The novel promises more than it really is, in terms of the plot, and does not meet the expectations in this area. The second strange thing is, that it seems to have so many threads and try to touch so many important topics, that there unavoidably must be, and are (in my opinion) some loose ends. What, for example, was the purpose of the scene with the severed hand in the kitchen drawer?
Nevertheless, this novel stays with the reader forever and is great as a brain stimulant. Although not the best of Carter's, it is definitely her own in terms of style and original voice, it is mesmerizing and makes me yearn for more. It just ends too early and abruptly...

3-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant novel, stumbling ending
Angela Carter was a master of really weird magical realism. Her second book "The Magic Toyshop," is basically a forcible coming of age/first love story, wrapped in a fairy-tale ambience and exquisitely detailed writing, but it's hard not to be frustrated by the abrupt, bizarre finale.

Melanie and her two siblings are suddenly orphaned, and whisked away from the beautiful country house and idyllic life they've always known. Soon they're living in a slummy area of the city, with their brutish toymaker Uncle Philip, wraithlike mute Aunt Margaret, and her two brothers, in a house that is crammed with the magnificent toys that Uncle Philip creates.

Melanie finds herself increasingly drawn to her aunt's brother Finn, a feisty Irish boy who hides an artistic soul and a punk attitude -- and he and Philip are locked in a silent war. As the family tensions come to a climax, Melanie learns of a dark secret that Aunt Margaret is hiding, and which can only end in a horrific tragedy.

"The Magic Toyshop's" title would make you think that it's about... well, the toys, or the toymaker. Instead, it's all about Melanie's maturation into a young woman, and how she leaves her childhood behind. Unfortunately it starts to stagger toward the finale, as if Carter didn't know how to deal with all this stuff.

What makes this novel so intoxicating is the lush writing. Carter fills her prose with a ripe sensuality, rich in colours, sensations, feelings and impressions (such as the horrifying attack by a swan puppet, a la Leda). And she accurately captures a young girl's dreams and exploration, such as Melanie posing before a mirror, pretending to be a classic artist's model.

Unfortunately, the plot goes downhill in the last lap -- the shocking revelation is shocking mainly because it was never hinted at. And the ending feels tacked on, as if she just had to find SOME way of ending the plot quickly and took the most flamboyant one. It's also incredibly depressing and unsatisfying.

The characters are also unevenly portrayed -- Melanie and Finn are compelling as the young future lovers, one romantic and disgusted by the place she now finds herself, and the other a tough, kindly urchin. The other characters are rather underdeveloped -- Melanie's brother and sister are basically props, Finn's older brother is a shadow, and Philip is an ogre.

"The Magic Toyshop" is an exquisitely written novel, with a likably real teenage heroine, but marred by a contrived ending. Definitely worth a read, but not Carter at her best.

3-0 out of 5 stars Very odd book, but beautifully written
I was totally lost as to what to expect out of this novel. Angela Carter's descriptions, especially of people, are some of the best I've ever read. I just couldn't shake this sense of menace and impending doom while reading the book. It has very gothic overtones. I was very fearful for the characters. (It didn't help any that the cover is very creepy). I mean, it is rare that recently orphaned British children sent to live with their Uncle (whom they have never met) end up in happy circumstances (at least in Literature and Film *smile*). Still, very different and interesting, and I LOVED her descriptions. The plot was very weird and different. The ending left me with a "hmmm..." feeling. Oh well. I'm still glad I read it, but what a strange coming-of-age story.

... Read more

5. Nights at the Circus (Oberon Modern Plays)
by Angela Carter
Paperback: 112 Pages (2006-09-01)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$11.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1840026316
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Opened at London's Lyric Hammersmith in 2006.
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Customer Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Spectacular, spectacular, a three ring three act circus!
Half swan, half woman! Is she fact or is she fiction? Carter's novel in and of itself is a rollicking three ring circus in which she juggles the Enlightenment, Romantacism, Modernism, Postmodernism, Feminism, Communism, all while making innumerable literary and cultural references. How postmodern. As in The Bloody Chamber, she works with some traditional narratives but adds her own reading of them in. The novel works through a series of odd stories within the story that take place in locations clearly meant to represent historical epochs: Ma Nelson's House of Rational Desires, Madame Schreck's Museum of Women Monsters, Christian Rosencreutz's Gothic Mansion,Colonel Keary's Grand Circus,Buffo the Great's Clown Alley, The Grand Duchess's Panopitc Penitentiary for Husband Killers, and finally the whole crew winds up at a music conseravtory in the middle of Siberia. Through her journeys, the birdwoman protagonist, Fevvers, reinvents and redefines herself, constantly avoiding absolute definition, all the while exposing the problematic dialectics of each era's thinking. And, believe it or not, the whole novel is not overly pedantic, it's incredibly entertaining. I definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys a bit of postmodern reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Nights at the Circus: A+
When I read Angela Carter, I imagine her as the literary grandmother to someone like Kelly Link. There's an eccentric tone of fantasy, an unabashed outlandishness and roguish word-play; there's a thread of challenge running through the narrative, sometimes cleverly concealed and sometimes out in front like so much gaudy embroidery. Carter is a master storyteller with a remarkable gift for language and a willingness to take risks on any front.

But all of the above I already knew from my introduction to Carter, her short story "The Loves of Lady Purple" (check it out in Wayward Girls and Wicked Women: An Anthology of Subversive Stories).

Nights at the Circus goes beyond the expectations set by "The Loves of Lady Purple". It is more fantastic, more surreal, more political, more challenging, more graphic, and though more forceful also much more subtle. The traveling circus of Colonel Kearney provides such a splendid backdrop for Angela Carter's handiwork that I would not be at all surprised if this is her finest novel {}. The notion of the circus opens up every possibility for her--literate monkeys taking over their own care and negotiating their own compensation, a fortune-telling pig, abject and sociopathic alcoholic clowns {}... And most of that (despite providing its own commentary) seems on the surface to primarily help provide color to a narrative that focuses on a struggle to reconcile independence/individuality with the desire to mate and bond with others. Carter cleverly leads the reader along her characters' paths via totems and proxies, and accelerates us through their worlds in crisis when those totems become threatened and lost.

This is one novel that is as brilliant as it is lyrical.

= Again, as of this writing, I've only read this novel and one short story. Though I may perhaps be biased by the strength of the recommendation that J.M. made when suggesting the werk in the first place.

= Not to mention the thorough deconstruction of clowning.

3-0 out of 5 stars A good tale but difficult to navigate
I found the narrative style in this work to be a bit like wading through thick mud -- wishing the character would just "get to the point!"It took me months to get three quarters of the way through the book and then I finally gave up.Perhaps I just wasn't in the right frame of mind when I began reading it.Nights at the Circus isn't a bad book -- I know it's one of those "like it or hate it" novels -- I'm certain under the right circumstances it is probably quite fascinating. Who knows,maybe someday I'll pick it up and try again.

5-0 out of 5 stars the quintessential angela
Read this and The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr. Hoffman to get an idea of the depth of Ms. Carter's talent. A lovely, wise and witty masterpiece that will keep you thinking about it long after the book is done.

2-0 out of 5 stars You either like it or hate it
This text is very eccentric. I had to read it for an English class, and there was a mix of different reviews. Some loved it, some hated. I myself could not get through all of it (though I did make it to page 223). I suppose that the best way to tackle this novel is to realize that narrative is a big part of it, as well as is magic realism. The line between fact and fiction almost does not exist here. Logic cannot be applied when reading this novel. What is fact, what is fiction? Try to not distinguish the two while reading it and you may find yourself getting through it much more smoothly than I did. ... Read more

6. Wise Children: A Novel
by Angela Carter
Paperback: 240 Pages (2007-12-10)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$7.96
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Asin: 0374530947
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In their heyday on the vaudeville stages of  the early twentieth century, Dora Chance and her twin sister, NoraÂ--unacknowledged daughters of Sir Melchior Hazard, the greatest Shakespearean actor of his dayÂ--were known as the Lucky Chances, with private lives as colorful and erratic as their careers. But now, at age 75, Dora is typing up their life story, and it is a tale indeed that Angela Carter tells. A writer known for the richness of her imagination and wit as well as her feminist insights into matters large and small, she created in Wise Children an effervescent family saga that manages to celebrate the lore and magic of show business while also exploring the connections between parent and child, the transitory and the immortal, authenticity and falsehood.
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Customer Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars gem of a novel
A friend gave me this to read, i'd never read any angela carter but felt that i should. I'm so glad I read this, you need to suspend your disbelief at the beginning and just flow along with the novel. The characters and their situations grow on you and before you know it you will have finished this wonderful book.

4-0 out of 5 stars "It's every woman's tragedy that after a certain age, she looks likefemale impersonator."
Originally published in 1991 and newly released in paperback, this final novel by Angela Carter (1940 - 1992) is a riotous, non-stop farce, as filled with twists, turns, travails--and twins-- as anything Shakespeare ever dreamed of.Told by Dora Chance at the age of seventy-five, the novel flashes back to the wildly iconoclastic childhood she shared with her twin sister Nora."Chance by name.Chance by nature.We were not planned," Dora comments, explaining why they were unacknowledged and ignored by their father Melchior Hazard, the most famous Shakespearean actor of his day.("The Hazards belonged to everyone," she declares."They were a national treasure.")

Though their father may have been a "national treasure," he was also a self-centered and irresponsible hedonist, and Nora and Dora considered the doting Peregrine Hazard, Melchior's twin brother, their true "father."Brought up by their "Grandma" Chance, a "naturist" who claimed to be descended from the Booth family, the twins were surrounded by a bizarre assortment of "relatives," the result of their father's several marriages, which led to additional sets of Hazard twins who also adopted show business careers.As Dora describes her sexual coming-of-age, along with that of Nora, in bawdy and unapologetic language, she simultaneously describes their entry into show business as a song-and-dance team, a career that led to Hollywood.

As Dora's reminiscences continue at a manic pace--always exuberant, confident, and full of high emotion--the family's passion and love for life in all its variety become the real story here.With sparkling dialogue, the novel resembles an off-the-wall play, full of non-stop action, entrances, exits, asides, and even a Dramatis Personae, allowing the reader to keep track of all the characters and their relationships.The changing of partners and the game of "musical beds" keep the romantic aspect of the novel front and center, even as the family's dramatic contributions, some of them more significant than others, are celebrated.

Dora's story races headlong toward the climax--the 100th birthday celebration of Melchior Hazard's life, when the twins are in their mid-seventies--and the final fifty pages of the novel are as slapstick, ironic, and full of surprises as any comedy ever written.Eventually, the mysteries of their lives and the unanswered questions are resolved, not that Dora cares much.At the age of seventy-five, she believes that "A mother is always a mother, since a mother is a biological fact, whilst a father is a movable feast."Life is to be lived, without wasting a moment, and if the reader has a hard time keeping up with the high-octane action in this novel, then the reader needs to get with Dora's program.One must look, not on the bright side, but at reality. Ultimately, Carter tells us, through Dora, "Comedy is tragedy that happens to OTHER people."n Mary Whipple

The Bloody Chamber
The Magic Toyshop

3-0 out of 5 stars An Unfortunate Requirement
I was required to read this book for (strangely enough) my post-modern lit course.This book (in my opinion) is not post-modern...

It was easier to read than most "post-modern" books are, which is probably why it was a relief to read it.

It did nothing for me.I do not have a strong background in Shakespeare to fully understand the inuendos of the book.The "tragedy" of the twins' distance from their father stirred nothing, nor did the "comedic" aspects which seemed just absurd.

If this is a required read, then read it.It's pretty easy to read, though there is a lot going on so it is important to understand and follow every character and plot that is woven in.

I wouldn't read this for pleasure, personally.It's a silly book.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites!
I'm not a huge fiction reader. However, I first read this when it was assigned to me in one of my women's lit classes in college. Needless to say it's one of the few books I found worth keeping once I had my BA in hand.

"Wise Children" features five sets of twins in the famed (but fictitious) Hazard dynasty of theatre, spanning from the heyday of the mid to late 1800s to the decline of the art with the advent of movies. Dora and Nora, the main characters (Dora being the narrator) tell a delightful story of their lives as illegitimate children "on the left hand side of the family", fathered by a famed actor in a one-night stand during WWI. The tale is expressive and detailed, with a good deal of good-natured bawdiness and who's sleeping with whom. Rather than coming off as trashy, the novel instead maintains a light heart about the whole thing from start to surprising and triumphant finish. It;s a lot of laughs, smiles, but also some tears.

Carter was a splendid writer (she died in 1992, not long after finishing this book). The story is woven in excellent style, ecoking a wide range of emotions. The characters, rather than being soap operaish (though the drama runs high, no pun intended) are well-crafted and believeable. "Wise Children" is an intimate peek into the tangled web of the Hazard family, with a knowing wink at each page.

Highly recommended for a light, entertaining, but far from saccharine read.

3-0 out of 5 stars faded magic
Clearly a Miss Chance is the authoress of the chronicle of the novel. The whole narrative does not seem plausible. It is like a stage set, creaed on purpose to suit a role. It is like a theatrical boarding house. And it is a mystery. A tale that is told too many times becomes truth, even if it cannot be remembered by anyone. Such is the ontological status of Wise Children. It is the first vision after birth. A family can be invented as much as a story. A family can also be unwritten. It's not as if money, good British pounds (or American dollars) hasn't got a lot to do with storytelling. And a rich family may be not unlike the greatest story, the one that is too often told.
The novel is concerned with the left hand of success, the [...] side of the nation. A dark memory can be either imagined or fully faced, like the spectator faces the stage of a cheap theatre. Legitimacy may become as dubious as performance. And performance may just be the dark side of history. Or British history may be a permanent stage set: "He (Melchior Hazard, the great Shakespearean actor) wanted a house that looked as if each leather armchair in the library had been there at least half a century."

Angela Carter seems to presuppose a great British tradition in theatre, an impolute House of Culture, embodied in Shakespeare, which would be betrayed twice: first by British pretension, and secondly by the material solidity of Hollywood. How can imagination be saved in a society in which the best often collides and intermingles with the worst, in which the legitimate is nothing but the impersonation of the illegitimate?

Can anything ever be "saved" by Hollywood, while we know that the American tragedy is that nothing ever "succeeds" as it ought to? Where is one to find something truly new, and deep, and meaningful? The novel is also concerned with the incapacity of husbands to provide with legitimate heredities. Emotional life is at its best a hazard. Can a culture retain and cultivate its maturity in adequate terms when the men can't sustain legitimacy at home?

Can "magic realism" really be adapted to suit such a theme as British performance art? The technique of García Márquez and Rushdie is in my opinion better suited to longer, deeper sagas, and to the telling of history. The subject matter in this book is rather more frivolous; there are grounds of interest but this are not developed into a structure appropriate for this technique. ... Read more

7. Love (King Penguin)
by Angela Carter
Paperback: 128 Pages (1988-10-04)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$13.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140108513
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Annabel, an artist adrift in the political and sexual crosscurrents of the 1960s and the whirling undertow of her own mind, falls into marriage with the blithely adulterous Lee. Before long, her relationship leads to obsession, betrayal, deceit, voyeurism, violence, and suicide. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Three Self-destructive People in a Menage a Trois
This is one of Angela Carter's earlier works and though it is not as adept nor as well-written as her other novels, it is still a work of beauty and well worth reading.

It is the story of a menage a trois.Three freaks in the 1960's are entangled in a relationship that is mutually destructive for all of them.The triangle includes a husband, his suicidal wife, and his very bizarre brother.

Carter writes a modern-day post-script to this early novel, putting the characters in a contemporary perspective.This is a nice touch to an otherwise limited novel.

The story is rather basic.A frail ephemeral hippy-waif despairs of her husband's infidelities.She loses her mind and takes her life.Her life is interwoven with her husband's drug-crazed, caped brother.All three are trapped in a Gothic-like environment of their own creation.

3-0 out of 5 stars Very strange, original, a bit too nuts perhaps
Love, from 1971, is a very short novel (about 40,000 words), on the face of it pretty mundane.It's the story of a doomed love triangle (of sorts) in London in the 60s.The setting is nominally ordinary, there are no explicit fantastic elements.But the telling is decidedly weird, heightened, so that it has a fantastical feel.Which is only increased by the strangeness of the characters.

Lee Collins is a young schoolteacher.His wife, Annabel, is something of an artist. His half-brother, Buzz, is a bit of a lowlife.All ordinary enough.But we soon learn the back story.Lee's father died when he was an infants, and his mother became a prostitute, then bearing Buzz to an American soldier (who Buzz thinks was an Indian).Their mother went insane when Lee was 11 or so, and their radical aunt adopted them, among other things giving Lee his new name (actually Leon, after Trotsky).After the aunt's death Lee struggled through university while Buzz drifted.Lee ran into Annabel at a party.She was an upper middle class girl who had just tried suicide, and somehow Lee ended up taking her home, where she just sort of stayed.He begins sleeping with her a few weeks later (without her seeming to care much one way or the other), and sometime later they are more or less forced into marriage when her parents discover them.

Buzz eventually shows up and moves in himself, and he and Annabel form a strange alliance, mostly against Lee.Lee ends up in an affair, driving Annabel once again to attempt suicide.Lee kicks Buzz out and brings Annabel home again, but it is not long before another crisis drives Annabel once again to a suicide attempt.

It's all extremely weird, mostly because all the characters are just plain nuts.I remained interested, but not really involved, basically because I didn't believe in any of these people.It's not that they weren't self-consistent, but they just didn't seem real.Still, very strange, quite original.

The edition I read included an afterword in which Carter described her characters' later lives.It's mostly satirical in tone, and I thought it quite ill-judged, actually, a mistake.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gothic love triangle
It's hard to pidgeonhole Angela Carter's "Love" into a specific genre. It has all the elements of amelodrama - love, sex, madness, violence, even a hint of incest - but the entity created by the talented Carter isn't remotely the cheap and tawdry sexploitation feast you might expect from such seemingly unpromising material. If I had to categorise this slyly mythical tale of a deadly love triangle between/among two half brothers, Lee and Buzz (one blonde and fair, the other dark with traces of foreign blood) and a girl, I'd call it a gothic love story.With great skill, Carter quickly sets the tone for the novel with an opening scene that is simply unforgettable. The picture of Annabel, crouching in the dark under the open skies, is an early hint that the cosmic powers will play their part in shaping the lives of our three protagonists. Carter seems to like writing about lowlife in 60s England - her debut novel "Shadow Dance" is another example - but in "Love", she gives the subject an off centred spin to create something unique. You'd be hard pressed to find a sympathetic character in this chilling but compact short story. They're nearly all dirty, scruffy, drunk and vile. Annabel's parents don't count because they're middle class and even they're helpless in saving their daughter. The waif like Annabel (shades of Ophelia) isn't the victim you think she is. Mentally frail and otherworldly to the point of self absorption, she has no real grasp of reality and wreaks havoc on the lives of the menfolk around her. The gorgeously written tattoo scene is especially memorable and symbolic of the nature of her relationship with Lee. It's all about possession and control, aspects of love which the brothers have no ability to respond to or cope with. You know that it can only lead to tragedy. Haunted by the memory of their mother who lost her mind and gave them over to the care of their aunt, Lee and Buzz are as debauched as their friends and as out of control as Annabel. Carter is an incredibly gifted writer. Her prose is imaginative, colourful and sparkling and always a pleasure to read. This book is a wonderful read. It comes highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Almost her first, practically her best
Gorgeously painful to read, impossible to forget, and inexplicably unknown, "Love" is about a crazy trust fund girl who wrecks on the shores of Bohemia, about two brothers trying to emerge from the shadow of their fundamentalist Mairxist childhood, about the inevitable punishments of heterosexuality, and since this is Carter, about the intimate connections between madness, memory, fiction, and the lies we tell ourselves to get through the day.It's not a waste of time. ... Read more

8. Wayward Girls and Wicked Women: An Anthology of Subversive Stories
by Various
Paperback: 340 Pages (1989-01-01)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$4.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140103716
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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4-0 out of 5 stars Vixen Fun!
In this anthology Angela Carter has gathered the best tales of "bad girls." The stories focus less on women as being bad in a sexual way. Rather the tales range from stories of women who fail to comply with society to gothic horror. As with most story collections I've read, there are stories I love and stories that I'm not that crazy about. This collection was about 90% all luv from me with only a couple stories I didn't care for. Here is a breakdown of a few of my favorites:

"The Debutante" by Leonora Carrington - A girl sends a hyena to her coming out ball with (obviously) bloody results.

From The Gloria Stories by Rocky Gamez - A friend of the narrator wants to be a man and believes that she can impregnate her female lover.

"The Loves of Lady Purple" by Angela Carter - My Favorite! This gothic tale is of a life size "Venus of the Orient" puppet controlled by an old puppeteer. That is, until, the dreaded Lady Purple comes to life. So much to discuss with this tale: feminism, sex, aspects of Carnival, vaginal imagery, power, etc....

"The Oke of Okehurst" by Vernon Lee - Another great gothic tale! This tale is narrated by an artist visiting a very strange couple plagued by the past. Ghosts, jealousy, and weird women - an excellent combination!

I highly recommend this collection. It is out of print but I was able to get it through Inter-Library Loan.

As Angela Carter concludes her introduction to this volume; "they [the heroines] know they are worth more than that which fate has allotted them (Carter, xii)." You go, girl(s)! ... Read more

9. Angela Carter's Book of Fairy Tales. Edited by Angela Carter
by Angela Carter
Hardcover: 486 Pages (2005-01)
-- used & new: US$14.33
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Asin: 1844081737
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Once upon a time fairy tales weren't meant just for children, and neither is Angela Carter's Book of Fairy Tales.This stunning collection contains lyrical tales, bloody tales and hilariously funny and ripely bawdy stories from countries all around the world-from the Arctic to Asia- and no dippy princesses or soppy fairies.Instead, we have pretty maids and old crones; crafty women and bad girls; enchantresses and midwives; rascal aunts and odd sisters. This fabulous celebration of strong minds, low cunning, black arts and dirty tricks could only have been collected by the unique and much- missed Angela Carter. Illustrated throughout with original woodcuts. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Once upon a time...
Once upon a time I believed in witches.I also believed in ogres and ghosts.I knew that sooner or later I would leave home to seek my fortune and that the real world - the world out there beyond our front gate was a strange and weird place full of woodsmen and princesses and treasure everywhere.Along the way some of the weirdness started to get sucked out.Dull grey people with dull grey concerns began to shepherd me into a world with neither wonder or excitement.

Reading Angel Carter's fairy tales is a reminder of what the real world is like.They have the power to make you feel like a kid again.Fairy tales are distilled folk wisdom, the DNA of the collective imagination of our ancestors, and in Carter's hands they are seriously weird. ... Read more

10. The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman
by Angela Carter
Paperback: 224 Pages (1986-03-04)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$3.25
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Asin: 0140235191
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The story of a war fought against the diabolic Doctor Hoffman, who wanted to demolish the structures of reason and liberate man from the chains of the reality principle for ever. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

4-0 out of 5 stars A truly alternate source of energy...
--Angela Carter has made of this novel her own infernal desire machine, assembling it from influences one can still easily recognize, including Sade's "Juliette," Lautreamont's "Maldoror," Swift's "Gulliver's Travels," and Voltaire's "Candide."

--If those influences are to your liking, then there's a better than average chance "The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman" will work for you.

--It worked for me more times than not, but I appreciate the richly crafted, highly metaphoric, baroque writing style Carter employs. It isn't a quick read and isn't intended to be. These are sentences that exist for their own sake, as things of beauty, and not simply to move the story along. They will seem tedious and over-written to many who are accustomed to reading novels for "what happens."

--"What happens" here is that an old man is recounting his picaresque odyssey as a young man in a long-ago war: a war to defend reality as we know it from the onslaught of villain who wanted to liberate it from all limitations, a.k.a., Dr. Hoffman.

--Basically, we follow our hero (Desiderio) as he makes his way through increasingly bizarre manifestations of "reality," warped in great part, by his own unleashed unconscious, as well as the unconscious of the woman he pursues, desires, and must ultimately confront in an erotic showdown--the beautiful, ever-changeable Albertina, who happens to be Dr. Hoffman's devoted daughter.

--The novel takes the form of Desiderio's adventures among one society of people (and creatures) after another, each living a different version of reality, as he gets closer to the source of the chaos: the castle in which Dr. Hoffman's infernal desire machines produce waves of disruptive energy generated by the most basic drive of all...human copulation.

--Aside from the dense and elliptical style, the deliberate and sardonic obfuscations, the allusions and philosophical asides, this is not a novel for prudes, the faint of heart (or stomach), or for the politically correct. If you are uptight about anything, this is a novel you need but probably shouldn't read. Carter has a tendency not only to slay sacred cows but to grind them up for use in comic meatball fights.

--There are times when the narrative sags, the invention flags, and it all seems rather tiresome and arbitrary, but there's always something just around the bend that lures you back inside this phantasmagoric novel. This is definitely one of those novels that you read for the journey more than for the destination, where the whole may be less than the sum of its parts. In that way, among others, the novel may be like desire itself.

--As a breed, this novel is a relatively rare creature: a book that actually has something important to say by an author with the artistry to say it. Carter was a thinker as well as a writer with a fierce and fearless imagination. "The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman" might be read as a fable of her own search for the wellsprings of creativity, love, and the imagination.

2-0 out of 5 stars I Smell A Racist
This is the second novel I've read by Angela Carter (the first being The Magic Toyshop) and I have noticed that whenever she makes a reference to a person of Afrikan descent, it is always something negative, rude, or condescending.Carter isn't half the writer that AS Byatt is.Save your money and buy yourself some real literature.

5-0 out of 5 stars heady and intoxicating
My friend Susan introduced me to "Heros and Villians" by Angela Carter back when I was 17 or 18.I didn't quite know what to do it.I was still young enough that reading anything transgressive was both alluring and deeply embarrassing.The experience reminded me then of how I felt reading "Flowers in the Attic" when I was 12 -except the material was disquieting and powerful enough that I didn't rush out to read every Angela Carter book I could get my hands on.In fact, I didn't read anything by Carter till more than a decade later.

I read "The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman" while I was traveling alone in Eastern Europe.I ended up leaving my copy with a fellow traveler I met in Budapest.I think he and his girlfriend were Australian.In any case, they were such icons of the classic eco-friendly, organic eating, and occassional pot smoking back-packers I couldn't help myself.I wanted them to experience the imagery that was rich enough, lush enough, and dizzyingly enough to force some awe into their complacency.

Interestingly enough, when I read the Amazon reviews for "The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman," I was surprised by the comments about the book's explicit sexuality.I'm sure it's there, but I don't recall any of it other than the premise that Doctor Hoffman's machine was powered by the orgasms of coupling lovers.The artistry of Carter's language neutered the scenes of physical penetration so all that I was left with was a phantasmagorical quest fueled by love.

3-0 out of 5 stars Dilemma
This is by far the most bizarre book I have ever attempted to read.I absolutely loved the first chapter.This book does have literary merit.However, the amount of sexual content was too overwhelming for me, and I could not bring myself to finish the book.Had it not been for that, I would have been able to finish and give the book 5 stars.If you ever just want a taste of the book and avoid the sex, read the first chapter, but stop there.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic trip through possible realms of psyche
This novel was my introduction to Angela Carter, and what an introduction it was! The novel was originally published (I believe) in the early 80's, and smacks of magical realism as well as profound dollops of surrealism and eroto-psychedelia. Carter's prose is dense and precise, intensive rather than expansive, but the images keep coming, and if anything, one can feel swamped in the flood of dreams, but in a satisfying way. Really, to say Carter evokes Burroughs or any other author may convey a reader's subjective impression, but Carter is on her own trip, a protracted journey through history and psyche, and an examination of the sensual magic of words and imagination made manifest in miraculous ambiguity and ambivalent sexuality. Her highly original prose style often feels like a good translation from another language - most of the action takes place in Latin America, and at times I was hard pressed to remember that I was not reading a Latin American author. This book isrecommended, though not an easy read due to the density of Carter's prose and the depth of her philosophical examination of the roots of dream and imagination. But she takes you on a journey that within a few pages becomes irresistible, and takes you to places that surprise, delight, and disturb, and that you will not soon forget. ... Read more

11. Shaking a Leg: Collected Journalism and Writings
by Angela Carter
Paperback: 656 Pages (1998-12-01)
list price: US$39.00 -- used & new: US$6.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140276955
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A showcase of Carter's literary talents
This anthology of Carter's writing contains essays that will make you laugh, make you angry, fascinate you, and educate you with the perspectives of a person who lived through times of authentic social change and the establishment's reaction to change.The reflections and arguments compiled in this book themselves comprise a valuable heirloom for any reader or writer interested in 20th century politics and culture.

I have several favorites, like the uproariously satirical pieces on Linda Lovelace and D.H. Lawrence.There are also some illuminating essays on less known writers like Christina Stead and Bessie Head.Her investigational writings on Japanese culture are fascinating readings.Most compelling for me are the essays on the atomic/nuclear bomb, in which Carter expounds on the failure of reason against nuclear weapons.

This anthology has something for everyone.I think in a way Carter was a writer's writer, but any reader can enjoy her work.Any fan of her truly gothic fiction will find the anthology informative and revealing with regards to Carter's personal ideology, feminist perspectives, and her inner values as a woman.

5-0 out of 5 stars Must-have
Like everything Angela Carter ever wrote, her essays are precise, profound, lyrical and always always decidedly hers.The essays collected here overflow with Carter's humor and insight.Every page was a truepleasure to read. ... Read more

12. The Sadeian Woman: An Exercise in Cultural History
by Angela Carter
Paperback: 181 Pages (2006-10-01)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$9.99
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Asin: 1844083772
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"Sexuality is power," wrote the Marquis de Sade. His virtuous Justine kept to the rules laid down by men, her reward rape and humiliation; his Juliette, Justine's triumphantly monstrous antithesis, viciously exploited her sexuality. This is a world where all tenderness is false, and all beds are minefields. But now Sade has met his match. With invention and genius, celebrated novelist Angela Carter takes on these figments of his extreme imagination and transforms them into symbols of our time—the Hollywood sex goddesses, mothers and daughters, pornography, even the sacred shrines of sex and marriage lie devastatingly exposed before our eyes. Carter delves into the viscera of our distorted sexuality and reveals a stunning vision of love that admits neither the conqueror nor the conquered. It is a dazzling meditation on women's sexual freedom.
... Read more

13. Heroes and Villains
by Angela Carter
Paperback: 160 Pages (1991-01-25)
list price: US$11.95 -- used & new: US$83.20
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Asin: 0140234640
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Overwhelming
Reading this book is like being covered with dead leaves and undergoing a personal process of transformation into the most potently fertile mulch, if this can be done as poetry and with vitality and supernatural grace.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing
beautiful, haunting, thought provoking..

3-0 out of 5 stars A book that has not aged well
I've read several Angela Carter novels--all of them great, but "Heroes and Villains" disappointed. After the glorious reading offered by "The Magic Toyshop" and "SeveralPerceptions," I had high expectations for "Heroes andVillains" which it sadly did not meet. A decent novel altogether butit lacks Carter's magical prose and she fails to create a convincingpost-apocalyptic world. Furthermore, Marianne and Jewel are not veryinteresting characters. It is an ambitious story clearly influenced by theguru movement of the 1960's, and although its message is still pertinent,the novel itself feels more like an artifact of the flower powergeneration. Instead, I would recommend "The Magic Toyshop,""Several Perceptions," "Nights at the Circus" and"The Bloody Chamber" for anyone deeply interested in AngelaCarter.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
An astonishing little book describing the throes of a woman caught up in ahopeless post-apocalyptic world. Beautifully written, in a dark, haunting,extistential style. ... Read more

14. Fireworks: Nine Profane Pieces (King Penguin)
by Angela Carter
 Paperback: 144 Pages (1987-12-01)
list price: US$11.95 -- used & new: US$2.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140105883
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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5-0 out of 5 stars The Beauty of the Profane
I find it difficult to describe the appeal of this in a few short sentences - like Carter's other work it is fabulous, provoking and sexually charged. Here again are her enduring themes - domination and transformation('Master'), the ultimately desireable loss of innocence ('Penetrating tothe Heart of the Forest'), and forays into the dark, folk-tale regions shehas navigated with such effect in past works.

They are described as'pieces' and justly so; but pieces that are remarkable, fascinating andlose nothing for their brevity and strangeness.

5-0 out of 5 stars Japanese eroticism & medieval torture
Yes: in FIREWORKS, Angela Carter manages to tell stories dealing with Japan, medieval torture tactics, incest, gender-bending, and mirrors (LOTS of mirrors). It's a beautiful book...only a glimpse into her imaginationand only a small taste of her bizarre politics. And, as she explains in herafterward, these stories are not stories, but "pieces,""tales"--a nod to Poe or even to the Brothers Grimm. This is avery unusual--and rewarding--collection of writings. ... Read more

15. Fireworks
by Angela Carter
 Paperback: Pages (1982-02)
list price: US$4.25
Isbn: 006090920X
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16. Shadow Dance (Virago modern classics)
by Angela Carter
Paperback: 182 Pages (2004-09-02)
list price: US$14.45 -- used & new: US$5.00
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Asin: 1860490417
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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'The scar drew her whole face sideways and even inprofile, with the hideous thing turned away, her face was horribly lop-sided, skin, features and all, dragged away from the bone. She was abeautiful girl, a white and golden girl, like moonlight on daisies, amonth ago.'And yet the men still hover around her, more out of curiosity thanlust, and none more so than the wildly seductive, dangerous funny man,Honeybuzzard; lithe as a stick of liquorice, he is the demonic puppetmaster at the swirling centre of the tale.'In a modern day horror story gleaming with perfect 1960's detail, sheperforms a double act, conjuring up just the right amount of uneaseand perversion beneath the idiosyncratic business of relativelyordinary lives' THE TIMES ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars A look at London's Unsavory Characters
Angela Carter introduces the reader to a London that isn't talked about in the tourist guides.It is the London of detached working class men and women scruffing out a living.The book centers around two friends.Morris is married to Edna, but rarely goes home to her.His best friend, Honeybuzzard is an eccentric figure.Physically attractive but emotionally blunted, he sails through life, using everyone around him for his own purposes.Morris and Honeybuzzard haphazardly run an antique store, stocked by their forays into abandoned houses where they steal the items they sell.

Honeybuzzard has been away for several months.A promiscious woman who slept with both the men and most of their acquaintenances, was found raped and cut horribly about the face.Ghislaine has now returned to the neighborhood after getting out of the hospital, horribly disfigured.The rumour mill says that Honeybuzzard may have been the culprit, although the offical report blames a roving gang.

Honeybuzzard has also returned, with a new lover, Emily, in tow.The book follows the lives of these characters as they meet and fall apart and struggle into new configurations.

Shadow Dance is Angela Carter's first book, and it is my introduction to her writing.The writing is stark yet compelling, and her deft touch introduces characters that inhabit the mind long after the last page is read.This book is recommended for fiction readers.

2-0 out of 5 stars HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PSYCHO
Soon after I started reading this novel and read the descriptions of the clothing being worn by the characters I started to wonder whether all of them were Liberace impersonators. I mean what with all the frilly shirts and outrageous jewelry, and then I had to remind myself that this was published in 1966, the prelude to the Summer of Love. It was Angela Carter's first novel, originally published with the title Honeybuzzard. She was only 26 years old at the time and that can explain many of the failings of the book.

As Shadow Dance opens, we are introduced to Morris, a part owner of a antique/junk store who spends most of his days looking through deserted houses. He encounters Ghislaine, a young and beautiful girl. Well, she's not beautiful anymore. She has a long scar on her face that looks like it has never healed where someone mutilated her with a knife. The official story was that a gang raped her and then marked her like that. In reality, the whole town believes that Morris' business partner and friend, who goes by the name of Honeybuzzard, actually did it and has gotten off scotfree because Ghilsaine still loves him.Coencidentally, Honeybuzzard arrives back in town with a new girlfriend in tow. Morris will have to face up to what his friend has done (if he really is his friend), deal with his worn down marriage, and decide if he can be his own man in the process.

I liked Carter's style in the book. She is a master of description and metaphor and is very sensual. You can visualize her writing very easily. The problem in this novel comes down to characterization, namely, that of Honeybuzzard. All of her characters are strongly written except him. Honeybuzzard comes off at one point as slightly gayish man lacking all morality to a preening and giggly girl to a brutal psycho. We're never able to quite believe the over the top nature of the character. At times I expect him to do a fat Elvis routine. Carter made the character androgynous to a fault. Whether this was intentional or not, I don't know. I could go on and on about the failure of this very important character which renders the book silly, goofy, and self-destructive but I won't. Carter was just starting here and very few first novels hit on all cylinders. It's worth reading for a fan of her work but a general audience would probably be wasting their time.

4-0 out of 5 stars Beauty is in the Eye
This novel is a peripheral view of monsters. One monster being Honeybuzzard, the nasty showy boy who routs through abandoned buildings and takes girls for granted. And the other is the once beautiful girl who has been horribly disfigured and looms in the background of much of this novel as a threatening figure. We see this through Morris, the good-natured but morally corrupt man who tends to mix himself up in trouble. This book introduces a lot of the central themes Angela Carter works with in her later novels. What is truly poignant about it is its setting in the counties of England in a place Carter will depart from and never return in her worldly travels of fiction. Although all of her fiction is concerned with the ways in which women are perceived and treated by society, this novel is the most concerned with an awareness of the violence which accompanies the feminine. The monsters are, as always, really storybook characters, the big bad wolf chasing little red riding hood. But, again like always, under Carter's hand they are not so plastic as that. Each character is innocent and guilty, virtuous and corrupt, powerful and weak. It is because we hold within us these binaries that we are human and so sympathetically related to all the characters of the fairy tales because we have the capacity within us for extreme emotions.Honeybuzzard says: "I like - you know - to slip in and out of me. I would like to be somebody different every morning. Me and not me. I would like to have a cupboard bulging with all different bodies and faces and choose a fresh one every morning." The identities that people wear shift constantly and if we aren't attentive to the way in which they change we will be damaged. The mystery of this novel is not the morality of the terrible deformation of the woman, but whether she is truly beautiful or ugly.And, of course, she and we are both.

5-0 out of 5 stars A different but impressive first novel
"Shadow Dance" is purportedly an atypical Angela Carter novel. It isn't about a make-believe world of magic and fantasy that's ruled by freaks and half humans but starkly rooted in the crumbling order of lowerclass society in an unnamed English town where bloody minded beatniks,thieves and loafers are the dominant human specimen. Carter's first novelis boldly contemporary, dealing with issues confronting a society that'sundergoing a radical change of values and throwing its inhabitants into aperpetual state of anomie, where the old sits uncomfortably alongside thenew. Hence, you have poor old Edna driving Morris bonkers with her residentmartyr act which only serves to unleash the lurking cruelty beneath thesubterranean of his mind. Contrast this withEmily's ruthless andsingleminded focus on the here and now. Honeybuzzard's criminal instinctsand his lack of moral centre is both frightening and damning in itsimplications for a society still finding its new equilibrium. Even Morris,Honeybuzzard's alter ego and quite the only character with any conscienceat all capitulates and abandons his quest for justice. "ShadowDance" is an impressive first novel by the celebrated Carter. Herheady and razor sharp facility with words lends that extra zing to thiscoming-of-age tale of cruelty. It won't be long before I tackle one of herlater works which promises to be different but equally entertaining.

4-0 out of 5 stars Don't start here!
If you've never read anything by Angela Carter, don't start here. Shadow Dance is a decent read with some arresting and haunting images and situations, and it won a major book prize, but it's not "typicalCarter", and if it had been the first of her books I'd read, Iprobably wouldn't have been interested in reading any others. Like severalof her other early novels, it's basically a character study of the peoplesurrounding a disruptive personality. In this case, there are two terriblyvicious people (Honeybuzzard and Ghislaine, his victim), and a circle ofpub companions and their families in a depressed British city. It's toldthrough the eyes of Morris, Honeybuzzard's best friend and sometimesalter-ego, who is occasionally appalled by his companion's behaviour, can'tquite manage to be as terrible, and finds himself consumed with guilt whenhe tries. It's worth watching the sparks fly, but the novel is nothing moreor less than a beautifully-written soap opera.Carter did THAT better afew years later in "Love", which is mercilessly gorgeous andsharply nasty, and quite a bit shorter than "Shadow Dance". Herfans will absolutely and categorically want to read "ShadowDance", and it *is* worth the time, but if you're not a fan yet, pickup "Burning Your Boats: The Collected Short Stories" instead. ... Read more

17. Saints and Strangers (King Penguin)
by Angela Carter
Paperback: 128 Pages (1987-12-01)
list price: US$12.00 -- used & new: US$1.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 014008973X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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5-0 out of 5 stars Cabinet of Wonders
How can I have missed Angela Carter up to now? Judging by these eight stories, she is a master of the imagination, painting her inventions in highly-colored language that runs the gamut of the verbal palette but is never merely garish. "An old woman sells arum lilies. This morning, she came from the mountains, where wild tulips have put out flowers like blown bubbles of blood, and the wheedling turtle-doves are nesting among the rocks." How wonderful the word "wheedling" in that quotation, or "mutilated" in this one, in which she out-grims Grimm: "They wrapped the dead in a quilt and took it home with them. Now it was late. The howling of the wolves mutilated the approaching silence of the night." She is a fantasy writer who nonetheless maintains contact with at least the distant shores of reality, an admirer of Gothic who never sinks to mere genre.

Many of the stories in this collection strike sparks from the flint of other writers. This comes from an account of the childhood of Edgar Allan Poe: "And, as he continued, fascinated, appalled, to stare in the reflective glass at those features that were his own and yet not his own, the bony casket of his skull began to agitate itself as if he had succumbed to a tremendous attack of the shakes." Here she revisits A Midsummer Night's Dream from the perspective of the Indian Boy whom Oberon claimed from Tytania: "Child of the sun am I, and of the breezes, juicy as mangoes, that mythopoeically caress the Coast of Coromandel far away on the porphyry and lapis lazuli Indian shore where everything is bright and precise as lacquer." And here in the last story, "Black Venus," about Baudelaire's mistress, she speaks almost in the poet's own voice: "Sad; so sad, those smoky-rose, smoky-mauve evenings of late Autumn, sad enough to pierce the heart. The sun departs the sky in winding sheets of gaudy cloud; anguish enters the city, a sense of the bitterest regret, a nostalgia for things we never knew, anguish of the turn of the year, the time of impotent yearning, the inconsolable season." Truly, she is a poet herself.

Whether she is writing about Lizzie Borden's axe murders, the wife of Tamburlaine the Great, or a Lancashire lass escaped from a penal colony in Virginia to live among the Indians, Angela Carter plunges her readers into the unique atmosphere of the story and never lets us go. She loves melodrama, but uses it only as an adjunct; her real sympathies lie with the people who are driven to extremes, sometimes with macabre results, but equally often with miracles. These stories are so perfectly suited to their scale, that I can hardly imagine a full-length Carter novel -- though she has written many, and presumably found the ideal scale for them also.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sainta and Strangers
I love this book! This is my first book by Angela Carter and I am not at all dissapointed! I can't wait to get another by her. Her style is very different than what I am use to. I just couldn't put the book down and I am anticipating my next Angela Carter book!

4-0 out of 5 stars The mistress of feminist irony
Angela Carter is the mistress of feminist irony. Her most famous and seminal collection The Bloody Chamber took beloved fairy tales and twisted them, showing us how wrong (and even silly) their accepted patriarchal bases were, and offering us a new spin. "The Company of Wolves" was even made into Neil Jordan's film of the same name, starring Angela Lansbury and Stephen Rea.

Saints and Strangers delves into other texts, mostly American history, and again offers another viewpoint on familiar tales. The opener, "The Fall River Axe Murders," is the most effective and the one that most rewards rereading. Carter takes an infamous figure known to most through a simple children's rhyme ("Lizzie Borden took an axe...") and gives her story an Ann Rule spin. This Lizzie doesn't kill her parents...yet. We are given access, instead, to the days preceding the crime, including possible motivating factors like debilitating heat, Victorian-era attitudes, and menstruation. All this making someone who was originally an object of scorn into a sympathetic, and even understandable, character.

"Our Lady of the Massacre" concerns the story of a Lancashire woman who, instead of starving, inadvertently is introduced to the ways of prostitution and pickpocketing. She goes to the New World as an indentured servant but, when the overseer tries to rape her and she mutilates him in self-defense, she runs away and is found by the Indians, whose ranks she joins. This is much more interesting as a story in itself; a portrait of a piece of American history usually left hidden. The main character is entirely believable and I was sorry to see her story end so quickly.

"Peter and the Wolf" is nothing like the folk tale that was turned into the popular children's musical and Disney film. But that is just another instance where Carter turns our expectation on its head. Then the wolf turns out to be something unexpected as well, and the story is just one surprise after another.

There aren't many pieces in Saints and Strangers and the book itself is just about 125 pages, but each piece stands on its own and is literary enough for deep reading. If you truly appreciate each story's merits, this book will not be a quick read. Along the way, we come across moments in the lives of Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Baudelaire (told, of course, from the perspective of the women in their lives), and the characters of A Midsummer Night's Dream -- before the curtain rises on the events with which we are familiar. Each time, we are introduced to people we thought we knew, but whom Carter's imagination (and, one would imagine, research) takes in entirely unexpected directions.

Saints and Strangers may not be the best starting point for the work of Angela Carter, but it is no slouch, either. However, if you already know what you're getting into and want to dive in head first, get Burning Your Boats, which contains the entirety of her short fiction for just a little more money. No matter which book you get, women will be emboldened -- and men will be frightened -- by Carter's take on all the things we as a culture have always taken for granted.

4-0 out of 5 stars Folk Tales Gone Awry!
American history does not need to be mundane. Fanatics of the past will drool over this collection of historical tales, told fromnon-traditional perspectives. Each of these short pieces of fiction retells classic storiesin a intoxicatingly funny, yet authentic way. Carter is audacious in herplain yet twisted manner of story-telling. She contorts the stories ofLizzy Borden and Edgar Allen Poe in such a way that the reader will findherself somewhat befuddled. This is not to say that "Saints andStrangers" is not a well crafted collection of short stories. Thisbook is indicative of Carter's mastery of putting a feminist spin ontraditional folk tales. ... Read more

18. The Pleasure of the Feminist Text: Reading Michèle Roberts and Angela Carter (Genus: Gender in Modern Culture)
by Susanne Gruss
Paperback: 360 Pages (2009-01-22)
list price: US$111.60 -- used & new: US$105.62
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 904202531X
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"I would regard myself as a feminist writer, because I'm a feminist in everything else and one can't compartmentalise these things in one's life." (Angela Carter)"When I became a feminist in 1968, I felt that I'd come home: the first home I ever had that was feminine. And it was very wild and theatrical and erotic, the early feminism." (Michèle Roberts)Angela Carter and Michèle Roberts share a keen interest in gender and sexual identity, but many of their topics seem to mark them as opposites: Roberts's fascination with the impact of religion, motherhood and autobiography on female identity covers areas that Carter shuns in her writings. In reading these two authors parallel and in contrast to each other, this monograph follows a triple objective: it provides a comprehensive critical introduction to the works of Roberts, explores aspects of Carter's work that have not yet been analyzed sufficiently (religion, motherhood, and masculinity), and uses both authors to explore motifs and strategies of feminist writing. The analyses of both authors' works are supplemented by close readings of a wide range of theoretical perspectives (especially French feminism and psychoanalysis) and concise theoretical outlines of the topics covered (radical feminism, religion, motherhood and fatherhood, masculinity, fairy tales, romances and chick lit, and history and auto/biography). ... Read more

19. Angela Carter's Nights at the Circus: A Routledge Guide
by Helen Stoddart
Kindle Edition: 152 Pages (2007-05-30)
list price: US$28.95
Asin: B0028ADKWU
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A highly original and influential work of modern British literature, Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus combines a fantastically creative plot with a strong political undertone. The result is an emotive and provocative novel, which has attracted much critical attention from a range of perspectives including poststructuralism, gender studies, postmodernism and psychoanalysis.

This guide to Angela Carter’s complex novel, presents:

  • an accessible introduction to the text and contexts of Nights at the Circus
    a critical history, surveying the many interpretations of the text from publication to the present
  • a selection of new critical essays on the Nights at the Circus, by Heather Johnson, Jeannette Baxter, Sarah Sceats and Helen Stoddart, providing a variety of perspectives on the novel and extending the coverage of key critical approaches identified in the survey section
  • cross-references between sections of the guide, in order to suggest links between texts, contexts and criticism
  • suggestions for further reading.

Part of the Routledge Guides to Literature series, this volume is essential reading for all those beginning detailed study of Nights at the Circus and seeking not only a guide to the novel, but a way through the wealth of contextual and critical material that surrounds Carter’s text.

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20. Miss Z, the Dark Young Lady
by Angela Carter
Hardcover: 32 Pages (1999)

Isbn: 0671651080
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
When the departure of the parrots from the jungle causes misfortune to fall on her home, Miss Z sets out to find the birds and persuade them to return. ... Read more

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