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Fireworks: Nine Profane Pieces (King Penguin) Paperback – May 1994

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Penguin USA (P); Reissue edition (May 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140105883
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140105889
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,511,515 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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Fireworks is a very apt name for this collection of stories: like fireworks, they are short, sharp bursts of concentrated but brief beauty, all with an underlying element of danger. However, while Angela Carter always writes excellently and has an amazing way with words, this was definitely not my favourite of her short story collections. Although her prose is rich and full it sometimes feels a little stifling in this book and I often caught myself committing the sacrilege of wishing for fewer words and more plot.

In the story `A Souvenier of Japan' Angela Carter's fictional self says: "But I do not want to paint our circumstantial portraits so that we emerge with enough well-rounded, spuriously detailed actuality that you are forced to believe in us. I do not want to practise such sleight of hand. You must be content only with glimpses of our outlines, as if you had caught sight of our reflections in the looking-glass of somebody else's house as you passed by the window." (p. 10) This is a fair illustration of how these stories work: they don't provide full narratives with fleshed out characters, but give tantalising glimpses into worlds where you can never be quite certain of anything. There is a dream-like quality to the stories which makes them feel uncanny and remote and just a little bit too odd for me, I think. Carter's epilogue explains exactly what she was doing in this collection and I found that very helpful, illuminating some of the more bizarre elements of these madcap stories (particularly the incest; I swear incest has been a theme in almost everything I've read by Carter now). I always enjoy it when an author decides to let their readers in on their thought processes, particularly when they are as patently oddball as Carter's, so this provided a welcome opportunity to help untangle some of my thoughts on the book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Japanese eroticism & medieval torture 3 April 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Yes: in FIREWORKS, Angela Carter manages to tell stories dealing with Japan, medieval torture tactics, incest, gender-bending, and mirrors (LOTS of mirrors). It's a beautiful book...only a glimpse into her imagination and only a small taste of her bizarre politics. And, as she explains in her afterward, these stories are not stories, but "pieces," "tales"--a nod to Poe or even to the Brothers Grimm. This is a very unusual--and rewarding--collection of writings.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The Beauty of the Profane 5 Jun. 2000
By C. J. Carter - Published on
Format: Paperback
I find it difficult to describe the appeal of this in a few short sentences - like Carter's other work it is fabulous, provoking and sexually charged. Here again are her enduring themes - domination and transformation ('Master'), the ultimately desireable loss of innocence ('Penetrating to the Heart of the Forest'), and forays into the dark, folk-tale regions she has navigated with such effect in past works.
They are described as 'pieces' and justly so; but pieces that are remarkable, fascinating and lose nothing for their brevity and strangeness.
Ah Angela 7 Jun. 2014
By Alexander Besher - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
So this is what you wuz doing the nite I met you at the woodblock print shop off-Ginza in Tokyo. I always suspected you were Heathcliff. Anyway, we miss you.
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