The Bloody Chamber And Other Stories by Angela Carter
The Bloody Chamber & Other Stories is a collection of ten short stories by Angela Carter, all based on traditional fairy tales.
The first and longest story, ‘The Bloody Chamber’, sees a young woman married off to the richest man in France and transported to his chateau, where she finds there is a cost to being too curious about his previous wives. This is followed by three stories of a feline persuasion: ‘The Courtship of Mr. Lyon’, ‘The Tiger’s Bride’, and ‘Puss-in-Boots’. The first two are similar tales of courtship and love between beauty and the beast, while the third is a humorous tale of how Puss helps his master gain his true love, and finds love for himself, too.
The next story, ‘The Erl-King’, provides a warning for any young ladies who may harbour thoughts of walking alone in the woods. This is followed by ‘The Snow Child’, an extremely short story based very loosely on Snow White, and a vampire tale, ‘The Lady of the House of Love’.
The collection rounds off with three werewolf stories. ‘The Werewolf’ sees a child attacked whilst visiting Granny, ‘The Company of Wolves’ is a reworking of Little Red Riding Hood (and was adapted into a film), and ‘Wolf-Alice’ tells of a girl raised by wolves.
There is not a poor story to be found in this collection. All the tales are a pleasure to read, with Carter’s wonderful, descriptive prose shining through in every one. Most of the stories are short on dialogue, as the author herself attested to her aversion to the form, but the richness of the language used in scene-setting and character description more than make up for it.
A magnificent collection of short fantasy tales. Highly recommended.