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Transplanted to Miami, FL, from Iowa City, IA. Trying to find a balance between reading, knitting, playing mom taxi, and enjoying the sun and sand in Miami.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Two Titles by Angela Carter

Angela Carter is the first of the female Sci-fi/ Fantasy writers from the list in my previous post. I read two of her works, The Bloody Chamber and Shadow Dance.

The Bloody Chamber is a book of short stories, a retelling of fairytales, written by Angela Carter. The first story, the titular "The Bloody Chamber", is a retelling of "Bluebeard." " Bluebeard " is a story I was very little familiar with, and I didn’t make the connection with "The Bloody Chamber" until after I had read Carter’s version. 
Carter’s sentences are complex and very descriptive. I was marveling over the sentences themselves as much as the story. Carter is from a different generation of writers than those I normally read. She was born in 1940 and The Bloody Chamber was written in 1979.
“The train slowed, shuddered to a halt. Lights; clank of metal; a voice declaring the name of an unknown, never-to-be-visited station; silence of the night; the rhythm of his breathing, that I should sleep with, now, for the rest of my life.” (p. 11)
There are two "Beauty and the Beast" stories, “The Courtship of Mr. Lyon” and “The Tiger’s Bride.” Although the two stories take two different approaches to the story and what the appropriate ending is. 
“Puss-in Boots” was an interesting telling of the story. “The Erl-King” read almost like a poem. I had to read it twice to fully absorb the imagery and the story. 
“The Snow Child” was a short and disturbing version of Snow White. “The Lady of the House of Love” seemed a little like Sleeping Beauty meets a vampire story. 
“The Werewolf” was a twisted version of Red Riding Hood, as was “The Company of Wolves.” Then there was “Alice-Wolf.” Which I assumed would be Alice in Wonderland, but I didn’t see many of the similarities. There was a little talk of being through the looking glass, but there were few parallels that I could find.
I think my favorites in The Bloody Chamber were the title story and “The Lady of the House of Love.”
Shadow Dance is a novel by Angela Carter. It was her first novel. I think both the novel length and the fact that it was an earlier work made it a much different reading experience than The Bloody Chamber
Shadow Dance is the story of Morris, an average guy just getting by in life. He has a wife that he doesn’t necessarily love, and a business partner named Honeybuzzard that Morris is drawn to like a magnet. 
It seems the only time Morris is happy is when he and Honey are out going through abandoned houses to find items to sell in their secondhand store. Honey is able to just do all the things that Morris wishes he could do. Pick up and leave town at the drop of a hat, sleep with any woman that catches his eye. 
Honey also has a dark side that Morris doesn’t share. Morris suspects that Honey is responsible for slicing the face of a woman that Morris had slept with once. Morris feels guilty over the woman’s disfiguring injury, and Honeybuzzard has no patience for emotions like guilt.
I am not going to analyze the story too much, I don’t think I could do it justice. I feel like this story maybe needs another read and some more thought to really analyze. 
I will give The Bloody Chamber 4 Stars and Shadow Dance 3 Stars.
I would recommend reading The Bloody Chamber one or two stories at a time over time, I think that helps to really enjoy each one.