Alluring, odd, fantastical- these are the words I would use to describe Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber. The full anthology, a sampling of Carter’s folkloric short stories, came out in 1979, after she had just published her translation of Charles Perrault’s fairy tales; the similarity of the 10 stories to familiar fables are distinct. The titular Bloody Chamber tells the tale of the young bride of Bluebeard; others draw out their own kinds of Beauties, Beasts, Snow Whites, and Red Riding Hoods.
Of the collection Carter explained, “my intention was not to do ‘versions’ or, as the American edition of the book said, horribly, ‘adult’ fairy tales, but to extract the latent content from the traditional stories”.
There’s a folk-ness to her prose, an antique and strange familiarity that reads as a spoken hearth-side tale. She has a style that weaves baroque verse with coarse, unapologetic conversation- beauty and horror at once.