I ‘won’ a copy of this book in a giveaway entered online. When the paperback arrived, I was delighted, as I was about to go on holiday and expected it to make good poolside reading.
This is an anthology of singularly dark, complex and richly written tales. Most are based on the elements of fairy tales. But these are not retellings, more original imaginings using the basic ingredients of the stories. Dense with detail, almost always containing some erotic component, skipping freely between past and present tense, they are not an easy read. But they are deeply compelling: once started it is difficult to put a story down until it’s finished.
Angela Carter has a reputation as a gifted and unusual writer; it is richly deserved, if this collection is a guide. She uses description to seduce the reader, mingles the everyday banal with the fantastical ornate and produces stories full of sensuality, fascination and surprise.
Not the book to read at bedtime, unless the reader invites nightmares, it was definitely better experienced under the comforting heat and light of a Mediterranean sun! Not every lover of horror will find this accessible, but those who do will undoubtedly enjoy these dark, adult fairy tales.