I’m not sure how to express to you my feelings about The Bloody Chamber. Part of me wants to throw around adjectives like opulent, intricate, sophisticated, adroit, and perspicacious, and part of me wants to grunt, howl, sniff, bite, and roll on the floor! How does Angela Carter do it? She accesses, explores, and reveals both the most highly developed and primal parts of our being (“our” being human, but even more so being female). She uses fairytales and folktales in their broadest sense, for some common ground (or should I say as a vehicle to go under ground – she takes these stories and mines their rich, latent content). The results are brilliant, terrifying, powerful, and unforgettable.
This is a slim book, but I found myself reading one story each night before bed, four or five times. The language, ideas, and imagery haunted me throughout my dreams, into the next day. The following night I would repeat with another story, etc. etc. I highly recommend this way of reading the collection — it really complimented the intoxicating, fantastical yet raw subject matter — a bedtime story ritual for (intense, bookish) adults, if you will.
(Art above by Daniel Egnéus from his illustrated interpretation of Grimm’s Little Red Riding Hood)