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Heroes and Villains (Penguin Modern Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Angela Carter
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.99
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Book Description

Sharp-eyed Marianne lives in a white tower made of steel and concrete with her father and the other Professors. Outside, where the land is thickly wooded and wild beasts roam, live the Barbarians, who raid and pillage in order to survive. Marianne is strictly forbidden to leave her civilized world but, fascinated by these savage outsiders, decides to escape. There, beyond the wire fences, she will discover a decaying paradise, encounter the tattooed Barbarian boy Jewel and go beyond the darkest limits of her imagination.

Playful, sensuous, violent and gripping, Heroes and Villains is an ambiguous and deliriously rich blend of post-apocalyptic fiction, gothic fantasy, literary allusion and twisted romance.

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Product Description


'An unashamed fantasist, a fabulist of daemonic energy' (The Times)

'Angela Carter is a genius' (Victoria Glendinning)

About the Author

Angela Carter was born in 1940 of a Scottish father and Yorkshire mother. She read English at Bristol University, and after escaping an early marriage went to live in Japan for a number of years. She wrote nine novels, which blend fantasy, science fiction and gothic, and is often referred to as a writer of magic realism. She died in 1992.

Robert Lowell Coover (born February 4, 1932) is an American author and professor in the Literary Arts program at Brown University. He is one of America's pioneering postmodernists. Coover currently splits his time between the USA and London.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1824 KB
  • Print Length: 180 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0141192380
  • Publisher: Penguin (3 Feb. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #105,962 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping post-apocalyptic novel 11 April 2002
By A Customer
Usually the genre of the post-nuclear holocaust novel doesn't appeal, but this novel is one of the best written on the subject.
With the backdrop of a changed world, there are still remnants of the structure of our civilisation that are struggling to survive - society has been divided into groups, the two largest being the Professors and the Barbarians. Marianne moves from one group to the other, allowing a full description of this new society - but it is the strong characters that really make this novel a cut above the others. The amazing descriptions of the landscape, clothing and jewellery capture the imagination and the intelligent comment on our modern society makes this a fascinating read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
After the apocalypse the world is divided into the steel and concrete villages of the professors and marauding bands of Barbarians. Apart from that there only those who live in holes in the ground, mostly grotesquely deformed with maybe an extra eye, no elbows or several too many fingers.

One day, Marianne, the very bored daughter of one of the professors watching from her tower window as the village comes under attack, sees that one of the marauders has been injured and has crept to hide in a stable. When she goes, late at night, to see if he is dead, she finds him very much alive and leaves the safety of the village to join his band of Barbarians.

The story of Marianne and Jewel is a tale of hatred, fighting, rape, violence and despair - but also of love. Fitting the apocalyptic nature - end of time, reorganisation of social structures, the reinvention of the evil eye, the danger of zoo animals abroad, the unrelieved filth and chaos of an army on almost permanent manoeuvres, this is an amazing story. Jewel is a fabulous creature, a wild animal, a knowing lover, a tattooed, tribal leader. But the priest of the tribe Donally, with his sleeping snake and his enigmatic pronouncements becomes an implacable enemy to Marianne. Yet at times, they are closer, all three than to anyone else in the tribe. They know something of the terrors, torments and temptations of leadership - at its heart is fear.

This is another fabulous confabulation from the wonderful Angela Carter, set in a future in which order and peace is rapidly decomposing. Who are the heroes, and who the villains in a world where civilisation no longer exists?
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lush, dark, post-apocalyptic fantasy 17 July 1999
By A Customer
Carter writes vicious, poisoned romance that hangs around in your head for a long time after reading it, due to her conscious and playful use of archetypes: hence the title. Here the archetypal vicious virgin is Marianne, a professor's daughter brought up in an ordered village community, who farm neat pockets of land surrounded by riotous jungle and dead cities. The community is composed of Professors, Workers and Soldiers, who guard the village against the Barbarians outside: lawless scavenger gypsies, who live by raiding. When Marianne is six she sees her brother killed by a Barbarian boy: it haunts her for years. She grows up strange, apart, unfriendly, much given to walking in the ruins by herself. When she is sixteen her father is killed by her nurse in a mad fit. Shortly after the village is raided by Barbarians. When one of them, Jewel, is left behind she helps him to escape and is carried off by him to a ruined mansion in the jungle, where his tribe live.
Far from being the creatures of her nightmares, the tribe are a disease-ridden, primitive and pitiful bunch. Although Jewel himself is nominal leader, it is more or less run by two refugees from the civilised world, the mad Dr Donally and Jewel's nurse Mrs Green. Donally is an ex-Professor who is amusing himself by creating rituals for the tribe - their elaborate hair and warpaint, a weird religion based on snake worship - but does nothing to educate them or improve their lot: his tattoos kill, his herbal potions poison. The work of guarding and hunting and raiding is done by Jewel and his six brothers. Donally has educated Jewel a little and considers him his work of art, figuratively and literally: he has tattooed a painting of Adam and Eve in the Garden on his back.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars clever, sexy and dark 11 Feb. 2009
By Dr. Vernon M. Hewitt VINE VOICE
I first read this in the mid 1980s and it left an indelible impression on my mind, especially Jewel, who became ever after an archetype of whimsical masculine beauty and intrigue. I have come back to this novel through later, slightly derivative fiction, especially Jim Younger's High John the Conqueror, and find it as fresh and as audacious as ever. The story is a short, packed with singular characterisation, Mrs Green, the Doctor, the idiot boy, and set deep within a post holocaust landsacpe of ruins, verdant greens, a land of the Professors (from `the deep shelters') the splendid if regressive barbarians, and the Out people. Each character is part of a rich genre, a clever intellectual read about social order, myth and still after all these years, subversively feminist: Marianne and Jewel's dialogue are perfectly done, only Carter could in effect convey the wit without making it seem fake or patronising:
`I'll leave you' she said furiously, `as soon as the baby is born!'
`You'll never' said Jewel contemptuously, `you're creaming for me now, this very minute.' He thrust his hand between her legs but she said
`That doesn't mean I won't leave you'
`Nor does it.' he agreed `but it suggests you might find going more difficult than coming' (p 126). Moving and rather haunting, it is both very much of its time (1969-70) but quite timeless in its appeal. Carter, her joy of sex, and the sheer imaginative power of her prose, is much missed.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a genre for me!
This was a putrid story set in a disintegrating world. Every character was without form or reason and I certainly did not care what happened to them. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Kenneth R Briggs
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
absolutely adored this book!
Published 1 month ago by Emma Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars yeah thought it was really good. A lot to think about
yeah thought it was really good. A lot to think about. I think some readers do not like this kind of storytelling; but for me good writing is about something more than the... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Rawly
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of my favourites
Published 9 months ago by chisel
2.0 out of 5 stars Weird and not so wonderful
I did not enjoy the characters, the pace or the storyline!

I still could not say who the real heroe or villain is in this book but at least I read it all. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Neilza Polidore
4.0 out of 5 stars Angela Carter was ahead of her time
Angela Carter is perhaps an acquired taste, but well worth persevering with. A futuristic dystopia is described which could lead to the reader feeling dispirited, but for the... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Pauline Evans
1.0 out of 5 stars Pretty dull
I bought this as the synopsis in my "100 must read sci-fi books" indicated it was a classic. The post-nuclear holocaust setting appealed to me as did the near 5 stars on Amazon. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Bath Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Only wish I'd found this sooner
Heroes and Villains was the first Angela Carter I'd ever read and the only fault I found with it was that I didn't find it sooner. Read more
Published on 20 Dec. 2012 by Kelli Rapson
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, why is this the first I am reading Carter?
She begins the book as a seemingly straightforward love(?) story about an intelligent, well bred, but disenchanted girl who befriends a barbarian in a post apocalyptic setting. Read more
Published on 3 Oct. 2011 by garibaldi
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh, do I have to ... ?
Some books you read as a child and treasure. Some books you read as an adult and wish you'd read as a child. Read more
Published on 8 Mar. 2010 by mad_mushroom
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