Very wordy spins on old fairy tales. Slightly interesting, but not something I'd want to read again any time soon.
One of Angela Carter's best short story collections. Baroquely written and superb.
I debated giving this five stars. I love retellings of traditional tales, and these are indeed excellent.
However, having recently re-read Tanith Lee's similar collection (Red As Blood), I realize that I personally somewhat prefer Lee's take.
Carter has apparently stated that her intention here was not so much to "re-tell" the story, but to "to extract the latent content from the traditional stories." Probably because of that, there are a great number of rather vague (if not innocent) maidens here, to whom things happen, or who do things without seemingly actively considering their actions. In most of these stories, a woman finds herself in a difficult position, which then must be resolved. Often, it is resolved in an extreme or ethically ambiguous manner, sometimes resulting in a happy ending, sometimes tragic, but the reader doesn't see a moment of struggle or decision, the result simply seems to happen.
It's interesting, because it actually points out how common it has become for retellings to insist that their female characters be feisty heroines, and reminds a reader that there is a lot of power in a tale where the things that happen are beyond a character's control.
This was the first work I'd read by Carter, with the exceptions of a few short pieces in anthologies, and I've already ordered another of her books.
This book was recommended to me as an excellent set of adult short story fairy tale retellings (which I am a fan of). This book contains a number of fairy tale retellings told in a beautifully descriptive and somewhat disturbing story style. I enjoyed it, but it was a slow read for me. Something to be savored and not rushed.
This book contains a number of fairy retellings including (but not limited to) the following retellings: Bluebeard, Puss in Boots, Beauty and the Beast, and Red Riding Hood. It also includes a couple short stories about vampires and werewolves.
I enjoyed reading this, although it is a slow read because it is written in a flowery style with older style language. This makes the story beautifully descriptive, but you really have to read carefully.
Although they are beautifully written these arent a set of tales for children. On the back it describes them as vulgar at times and that is pretty much right on the mark. At times the language and disturbing scenes of violence and/or sex are almost jarring embedded in this beautiful flowing language. It makes for a fascinating contrast, but is definitely adults only suitable.
A number of tales feature young woman who place themselves in a risky situation to gain wealth and power. As you might expect they are forced to pay the price by sleeping with older disturbing men or a beastly animal-like man...etc.
Overall I enjoyed the book and found it a interesting read. The language is beautiful, the stories are crafted in an old-fashioned way with flowery language, the vulgar scenes provide an interesting and disturbing contrast to the rest of the stories. These are not happy faerie tales but more disturbing cautionary tales. Recommended to adults who enjoy fairy tale retellings and are up for something a bit different than your standard retelling.