Day 4 of Gwen Bell’s December blogging challenge: Best Book '09
The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
This was one of those books where, after reading a few sentences, I thought to myself, 'I'm in love. In love. Where have you been hiding, Angela Carter? I mean, there must be a road named after you somewhere, right?'
While reading The Bloody Chamber, her book of short stories based on famous fairy-tales, I wanted to eat her words, smear her beautiful sentences all over myself and lick them off one by one.
If you love Thomas Hardy, as I do, you'll love Angela Carter. Like Hardy, she writes prose with the exactitude of a poet. Her stories are full of vivid imagery, but they are also plot driven. There is nothing flowery or excessive about them. They keep your heart racing. Most of the stories in The Bloody Chamber are recognizable but twisted up in all kinds of fascinating ways, probing at the psychological and mythological depths of fatal attraction. The title story, based on the Bluebeard tale, is chilling with a bit of wicked humor. Puss-in-Boots, in contrast, is a naughty romp.
Angela Carter died of cancer in 1992 at the height of her powers, which might at least partly account for why she is not more widely known outside of Great Britain.
Salman Rushdie was a friend and huge fan. Here's a link to Rushdie's tribute, which gives a nice overview of her entire body of work: http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/12/27/specials/carter-rushdie.html
Rushdie suggests that Carter's fame might snowball after her death. I hope it's happening. She deserves it, and the world needs her tremendous gifts.