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The Bloody Chamber And Other Stories (Vintage Magic) Paperback – 13 Jul 1995


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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; New Ed edition (13 July 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099588110
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099588115
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Angela Carter was born in 1940. She lived in Japan, the United States and Australia. Her first novel, Shadow Dance, was published in 1965. Her next book, The Magic Toyshop, won the John Llewllyn Rhys Prize and the next, Several Perceptions, the Somerset Maugham Award. She died in February 1992.

Product Description

Review

"Fairy tales reimagined for feminist times" (Grazia)

"The Bloody Chamber's interweaving of retold fairy tales demonstrates Angela Carter's narrative gift at its most mocking and seductive" (Observer)

"She can glide from ancient to modern, from darkness to luminosity, from depravity to comedy without any hint of strain and without losing the elusive power of the original tales" (The Times)

"Magnificent set pieces of fastidious sensuality" (Ian McEwan)

Book Description

Fairy tales retold and interwoven by a master of seductive, luminous storytelling.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 Sept. 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is an absolute gem with not a single story feeling out of place or unneccessary. Every story works on its own but the overall collection is fabulous. This is a book for anyone who enjoyed traditional fairy tales as it expands on each of the traditional stories like Bluebeard, Beauty and the Beast and Puss in Boots whilst the adult content ensures that it doesn't feel as if you are re-reading childhood books. This has become one of my favourite books and I would recommend it to anyone whose inner child desires a slightly more intense fairy tale.
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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan James Romley on 31 Jan. 2004
Format: Paperback
I first came about this collection of stories through the inclusion of two of its works in the Neil Jordan film, the Company of Wolves. From this, I was immediately impressed and intrigued by Carter’s style of writing. In ‘the Company of Wolves’, we saw the ingenious juxtaposition between the varying mythologies of the fairy story, with the natural-sexual awakening of the adolescent. This is the defining factor of these works. Though the stories move from place to place to explore further myths and legends, it is this one consistent thread that anchors the stories together to create a unified work. The writer creates reoccurring motifs of love, lust and sexuality that give the stories a further narrative cohesion, despite being generally fragmented in terms of characters and scope.
The unity of the book, and the sustaining of the literary atmosphere, is also created through the varied textual forms that Carter chooses to chronicle. So, for her examinations here the writer hand-picks legends that have the strongest roots in sensuality... so we have vampirism, werewolves, feral children, and jungle beasts beguiling and defiling a succession of young women in a series of deeply emotional narrative episodes. To go into any great detail about these stories would be a great injustice to readers who are yet to experience Carter’s poetic use of language and deft storytelling capabilities. Needless to say, the stories featured drip with a dense, erotic atmosphere that is occasionally overwhelming... though there is also a strong underlining of horror, tension and mystery; with the reader free to read between the lines and decode the various clues that Carter layers within her work.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Alice in Wonderland on 3 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback
I studied this book for my A levels, and at first I was not impressed. It seemed to be just fairytales with sex added to them, at times, it seemed, just in order to shock the reader. But as I read the book for the second time, and started studying it, I started to apprieciate the language and the beauty and strenght that her tales had. The fascinating was she subverted what you were expecting, how she mixed the expected and the unexpected to make a beautiful tale that left you feeling shaken and unsure.

The stories are based on a range if traditional fairy tales, from Bluebeard,to puss in boots, to several renditions of Beauty and the Beast and red riding hood. Having different versions of the same story in the book, as there is with Beauty and the Beast and Red Riding hood, is especially intresting, It shows how you can take a story and by forcusing on one element you can adapt it in many different ways.

One key theme of the book, is Nature; both outside and human nature, and how they interlink. The Lady of the House of Love, show what happens when you break your nature, when you turn against it and choose a different path, in this case for love. The Erl-King blends the boundrys of human Nature and the wild, The Erl King is almost a personification of the forest itself, wild and seemingly untameable.

Another theme is that of adolescencse and of innocence. Alot of the stories focus on the losing of innocence and the need for this in order to become strong and wise, to become and adult. The first story, the Bloody Chamber, especially, focuses strongly on the lose of innocence in many ways, through sex, betrayal of love, fear and so not only explores the lose of innocence, but also innocence itself and what it means.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mr. M. J. Wright on 17 Jan. 2007
Format: Paperback
A collection of darkly sensual reinterpretations of familiar fairy tales, many with a twist. The most famous short story in this collection is probably A Company of Wolves, which was adapted from Angela Carter's own radio script and was later made into a cult movie (a movie which incidentally remains on my list of favourites). The themes of sexuality and loss of innocence are explored throughout the collection. The stories are collected together because of their umbrella theme, but were not necessarily written at the same time; this is notable because there are actually two versions of Beauty and the Beast in the book, the first of which ("The Courtship of Mister Lyon") is greatly over-shadowed by the superiority of the other ("The Tiger's Bride").

Overall a rewarding collection of magical tales that invokes all those dark archetypes that dwell in your subconcious to leave you feeling uneasy and yet enchanted.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By VC Cox on 18 July 2008
Format: Paperback
Not for nothing is Angela Carter my favourite author. She was first recommended to me when I was a callow young lass of 17. But it took me a year or two more before I finally got a taste of her work, when we studied one of the stories in this collection (the Werewolf) for a university module.

I was entranced from the very first sentence "It is a northern country; they have cold weather, they have cold hearts." Carter's baroque prose is often akin to lying on velvet and drinking pearls, or sometimes like scraping scraps of bloodied meat from a bone. Dense and flavoursome, her narrative style seems to spring directly from the fantastical worlds it conveys.

The stories here are retellings of familiar (and some less familiar) fairytales. In one sense, they are modernised, but it would perhaps be more correct to say that they in fact strip away the sanitising and tinkering of centuries to get back to the dark, psychological undertones of the stories in their original form.

Wonderfully evocative, these fairytales are certainly not for children, and I can guarantee that you'll never be able to read Little Red Riding Hood or Beauty and the Beast in quite the same way again.
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