A Musing: The Bloody Chamber

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.

I’m hooked. I want to read everything by Angela Carter! The People Who Know told me Wise Children and Nights at the Circus should be next, and I’m going to listen.

(Art above by Daniel Egnéus from his illustrated interpretation of Grimm’s Little Red Riding Hood)

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7 comments

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  2. Ruby Scarlett

    Agreed, I read this collection of stories about 5 years ago and I can still remember her beautiful use of language and her creative, stunningly accurate reading of the tales. I read a few other books by her afterwards and though they were never short of interesting, I think this is her best work.

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  4. tuesday in silhouette

    Angela Carter is one of my favourites! Unfortunately, while I’ve read a few of her essays, I’ve not managed to get hold of more of her fiction since The Bloody Chamber. Might give Nights at the Circus a try though 😉

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  6. Brona

    She’s extraordinary isn’t she? I’ve just read The Bloody Chamber for AC week readalong. It was bloody marvellous. Like you I read one story at a time, with some research and rereading in between.

    I became obsessed! So much so, I’m trawling friends blogs for old reviews 🙂
    I feel haunted, possessed and somehow more alive than I was last week!
    What a woman – what a book!

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