4.0 out of 5 stars
Gorgeous edition of a beloved story compilation.
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 11, 2017
For years, since I heard of the works of the late Angela Carter, I've wanted to get this book in my hands. Some time ago, I managed to obtain a digital copy of it, and after reading it over and over, I knew I had to buy it.
However, because this book is virtually impossible to buy in my country, I had to search it here, and for some reason, the cover arts I saw in other edition weren't my cup of tea. This one, on the other hand, caught my eye as soon as I saw it. The wraparound art is gorgeousm, and I lamented that the book didn't include illustrations for the stories, which are still as enjoyable as when I read them for the first time.
On the stories themselves: As many reviewers (and Carter herself) said: these stories are not adaptations of classic fairy tales (from Perrault and the Brothers Grimm with some european folklore, to be exact) but more like clever revisitations of them, written with a rich, sometimes baroque (perhaps too ornamented for some readers) language, where one is transported not just to the tales themselves, but to Carter's world: a realm where young girls become aware of themselves as sexual and self-sufficient beings, where beasts (specially wolves) can be husbands or lovers, where mothers and pets are saviors, and where blood runs like water.
Yes, The Bloody Chamber may be considered as feminist fiction, but don't be scared, those of you who fear the F-word: While Carter was a feminist, she was one that didn't take herself seriously to the point of being Politically Correct or pretending to create a thin-veiled pamphlet with The Bloody Chamber; in fact, many of the words and situations in her stories might upset of the most sensitive readers (violent sex, explicit sex, nudity, necrophilia, animal and human escathology, and of course murder), and even those readers who aren't into any wave of feminism may enjoy several of the stories. After all, the works of Carter inspired several famous writers nowadays, such as Neil Gaiman, J.K. Rowling, Salman Rushdie, Kelly Link (who wrote the foreword to this Anniversary Edition) among many others.
There is one negative detail I must mention for those who want to buy this edition: When mine arrived, the edges of some of the pages weren't smooth but with a rough texture, like from a pulp edition (Mind you, the pages themselves were okay, the printed words looked in good conditions, the diagramation was in order, and none of them was torn). So, if you are fastidious with details like these when you order a book, you may want to think twice before buying it online, and going to a bookstore and checking the pages yourself instead.
Other than that, The Bloody Chamber is the best and most known of Angela Carter's work on fiction, so if you like fantasy stories with the dark edge that characterized old fairytales, you can it give it a try.
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