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Monday, June 1, 2009

The Bloody Chamber

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
Reason for Reading: Once Upon a Time
Rating: 4/5

This is going to be a short review, because I am super-duper behind on reviews. Those of you who were up with me during the wee hours of the most recent Read-a-Thon might recall that the title story of Angela Carter's short story collection, read at 2 am, scared the beejezus out of me. It is a retelling of the Bluebeard tale, wherein a young, innocent girl marries an older gent with money and an unfortunate penchant for murdering his wives.

Other retellings in this collection include Beauty and the Beast, Puss in Boots, Little Red Riding Hood, and Beauty and the Beast. Well, not exactly retellings. Some are closer to the original fairy tales, but many of them are only loosely based upon fairy tale. All of the stories are dark, and they all are much more sexualized than your typical sanitized Disney retelling.

I really responded to some of her stories. The title story definitely creeped me out. Other stories made me think in a different way about the original tales. About the dark side of the tale. About who the heroes and the villains were. Other stories left me a little cold though. The language in all of her stories was complex, but for some of the stories, I just couldn't seem to break the surface of her dense vocabulary into the heart of the story.

Should I read it? If you like fairy-tales, you'd be missing out not to pick this one up.


Anonymous said...

I LOVE fairy tales and I love creepy, I'm adding this to my wishlist right away.

Andi said...

I love Carter's stories but know exactly what you mean about their density. I read them for school, so I was used to digging into that stuff then. But now, when I reread, I find it much harder - but so worth it - thanks for reminding me.

Nymeth said...

I love Angela Carter! I hadn't read her in a while, but then last week I picked up Nights at the Circus and was reminded of just how awesome she is. I'm glad you enoyed this! She does use dense language, and I have to be in the right frame of mind to read her books, but I find her very much worth the effort.

Lezlie said...

"The Company of Wolves" was made into a movie back in the 80's or early 90's. It was properly creepy, too. :-)


Literary Feline said...

This does sound interesting. I enjoy reading retellings of fairytales, although I don't manage to do that very often. I'll have to look for this collection. Thanks for the great review.

Alice Teh said...

I love fairy tales and certainly retellings. I'm going to copy your style of review too because I'm way, way, way behind reviewing the books I've read. And there are just too many things to blog about!...

Kim L said...

violetcrush-you will probably love this one then!

andi-that's it exactly.. dense but worthwhile.

nymeth-Glad you like her too! Her stories are worth the extra effort!

Lezlie - that would be a creepy film!

Feline-glad you liked it:-)

alice teh-hey I know how easy it is to fall behind!

Andi said...

Love here and LOVE THIS BOOK! I have Burning Your Boats, a larger collection of her short stories that I can't wait to break into.

Susan said...

I read and reviewed this last year. I enjoyed it very much, well written, but you're right - there were definitely some stories I preferred more than others. The Bluebeard one is chilling, and so was the vampire one (I forget the fairy tale it was retelling). Nice review, Kim!

Susan said...

PS I love The Company of Wolves the movie, and the short story is really good in a different way. I forgot how much I liked it until trying to remember which one was the Red Riding Hood story!

Rhinoa said...

I still haven't read this much to my dismay as I know I will love it. I am really really slowly working my way through one of her collections which does include this one so hopefully by the end of the year...