Sunday, 28 February 2016

The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter - Review

Publisher: Gollancz (1979) First Edition

I read this as my second book in the 2016 Classics Challenge. It is isn't something I'd usually review on my blog, as it's an adult take on various fairy tales. However, this is absolutely a book you should read if you want a different slant on fairy tales that is dark, literary and sensual.

Angela Carter's writing style is just brilliant! It shifted masterfully depending on the story and context, from the humorous Puss-In-Boots to the Gothic romance of 'The Bloody Chamber'. The descriptions were consistently evocative and lyrical, capturing the essence of the original fairy tales at the same time as twisting and flipping them.

My favourite story was 'The Bloody Chamber' based on the Bluebeard story by the Brothers' Grimm. This tale of a man who killed his former wives in a torture chamber has always horrified me! Angela Carter retold it from a first person viewpoint that made the story feel all the more immediate and horrifying. 

The book was organised in an intriguing way, with stories of similar origins being grouped together. At first I wasn't sure whether that might get a bit repetitive but I found it created a thread through the book that can sometimes be lacking in short story collections.

This has made me feel like dusting off my old fairy tale books, as well as giving me a good excuse to buy more books by Angela Carter!

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