Jul 18, 2009

The Bloody Chamber

and Other Stories
by Angela Carter

I can't recall what made me pick up this book, those four years ago. It must have been on some reading list I had. The Bloody Chamber is a book of ten short stories which are dark, macabre spin-offs of fairy tales. There are twists on puss n' boots, beauty and the beast, red riding hood; there are vampires and werewolves stalking among the familiar figures. In one version, Red Riding Hood's grandmother is a werewolf, in another Beauty is the one who turns into a beast. I like Carter's writing style, I liked the very different turns these tales took and the strong female characters, but the sensuality and bloodiness was a bit too much for me. Some of the stories really made my skin crawl. They vary in length, from just a few pages to a solid half the entire book, each one just as potent as the last. Personally, it's not a book I can say I enjoyed, but if you like gothic fiction, or fairy tales turned horror stories, I'm sure you'd appreciate it more than I did.

Rating: 3/5                 128 pages, 1990

More opinions at:
A Striped Armchair
le writer's block
anyone else?


Lezlie said...

I picked this up a while back because it contains the short story "The Company of Wolves". Other than that story, I haven't read any of it. I need to change that. . . :-)


Jenny said...

I've been wanting to try Angela Carter for a while actually. I love dark retellings of fairy tales, but I have a low yuckiness threshold. I expect short stories are a good way to start though.

Anonymous said...

Sounds interesting, but I'm not sure if I'll like it or not. On the other hand, it I hate it at least they're short.

Jeane said...

Lezlie- I don't know how you can pick up a short story collection and just read one of them, I've never managed to do that... I have to always read the entire book!

Jenny- I think the yuckiest one was the titular story- The Bloody Chamber. The others had their gruesome parts, but not as explicit or drawn-out...

Carolsnotebook- It's easy to skip through them if you find them unsettling, especially as some of them are only a few pages long!