Hello everyone and welcome to the second part of my Short Stories Challenge for 2018. I have to admit, I’m feeling a little disillusioned writing this post and preparing which short stories I’m going to read for the next few months as in Part One earlier this year, I had so many disappointments and very few stellar stories that stood out to me. I think the biggest failures for me would have to be The Balloon Hoax by Edgar Allan Poe and Books And Roses by Helen Oyeyemi but I could mention a few more. However, let’s end on a positive – there was the wonderful The Apple Tree by Daphne du Maurier and Dibblespin by Angela Slatter which completely restored my faith in short stories. It is because of stories like these that I want to carry on with this challenge and find more great authors like the many, many ones I’ve found so far, purely from their short fiction alone. Let’s do this!
From familiar fairy tales and legends – Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Puss-in-Boots, Beauty and the Beast, vampires, werewolves – Angela Carter has created an absorbing collection of dark, sensual, fantastic stories.
What did I think?:
I have been meaning to read another Angela Carter book for a while after enjoying “Nights at the Circus.” This book seemed like a perfect opportunity to dip into her short stories, and I was intrigued by the premise of this book – a “warping” of classic fairy tales as I enjoy a bit of magical realism from time to time. So, these fairy tale are definitely warped and certainly not for children! This book was first released in 1979 and I can imagine it causing a bit of a stir then, and probably still would even today. They are not really “re-tellings” of fairy tales, but rather Carter’s take on them, with occasional vague references to the original story. Some of the quotes are unforgettable and completely hilarious, for example – in the words of Puss in Boots:
“I went about my ablutions, tonguing my arsehole with the impeccable hygienic integrity of cats, one leg stuck in the air like a ham bone;”
My star rating is based on the book overall, as some stories were a bit hit and miss, but the stories I loved included the title story, Puss in Boots, and “The Werewolf.” Throughout the book however, I was mesmerized by Carter’s beautiful descriptive writing and ease with language. The vivid imagery she uses had me transported to a different place, to the extent where I found myself quivering – particularly after the end of “The Werewolf.” Read it to see what I mean!