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Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman
Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman
by Angela Carter
Edition: Paperback

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark journey, 13 Dec 2002
This is a great read, but not for the faint-hearted. In the bizarre journey of Carter's narrator through an unnamed South American country, there are scenes that may cause revulsion as well as huge stocks of humour and poetry.
The premise is a battle against the forces of reason, fought by an inventor mastermind, Dr Hoffman, using metaphysical machines that turn the mundane objects into semi-illusory projections of fantasy and desire.
It is also a love story, but one in which Carter is able to explore her fascination with blurring the boundaries between things, people, and both as monstrous and fantastical amalgams of the two materialise throughout the work.
What makes this an important work, I think, is the way Carter achieves a freedom from any one "position". One side does win the final battle, it is true. But the author's greatness surpasses any attempt to pigeonhole her as, in this context, either simply in favour of rationalism or, indeed, the living Freudian nightmare in which her hero subsists so painfully. It is a fable in which Carter's dark humour makes mischief, playing practical jokes on the reader and characters alike.
Angela Carter is a great mind, an extraordinary thinker, with an almost incomparable ability to weave her visions into a literary cloak of glittering baroque invention whose extent seems unbounded, and unboundable.

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