Thursday, 22 December 2016

"The Bloody Chamber" by Angela Carter - December 2016

The members of the book group were in total agreement that Angela Carter was an talented writer. A very filmic writer, she was able to conjure up place and character. One could see & hear the characters, in her stories, clearly. It came as no surprise that a number of her works had been made into films.

The Bloody Chamber is a collection of the retelling of traditional fairy tales from a feminist perspective. Carter makes her female characters active & not passive players who are acted upon. That was welcomed & must have been very much so by readers when the tales were first published in the late 1970s.

All the group agreed that not only was Angela Carter an atmospheric writer, she was also witty & funny. Her wit came through clearly, for example, in her retelling of Puss-in-Boots. Puss is crafty, clever and with a very witty turn of phrase. He is very unlike the traditional sidekick to Dick that we are used to.

Where the group split was on whether they actually liked her writing or not. The majority of the group did. For one member she was too dark, too cruel - even more so than the original fairy tales, which are full of darkness. Because she was such an excellent visual writer, one had to be in the right frame of mind & with a strong stomach to read her. For this one reader Angela Carter was too shocking and uncomfortably to be an enjoyable reader. If she intended to shock her readers, with this reader she succeeded.
By Jasmina

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