Thursday TBR: The Bloody Chamber

The Bloody Chamber

It’s time for another Thursday TBR, and this week I’m talking about a book I was supposed to read in university but never did (oops!).

To be fair, Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber (and Other Stories) was “recommended reading” for one of my courses, and not required reading. My professor still loved asking the class questions about it, though, which I thought was kind of unfair.

In order to hold my own during lectures, I did what any student would do: I read the Sparknotes version online. Yes, I purchased a copy of the book, but at this point I was in fourth year and had dropped my English major for a minor, and was focused on the research portion of my History seminar. (For anyone wondering, that means I was too busy reading hundreds of newspaper articles from both France and Algeria, circa 1954—1962. I didn’t really have time for “recommended reading,” sorry.)

However, from what I gathered, I knew that I would want to read The Bloody Chamber one day. I mean, the description on the back of the book had me hooked:

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.

Yes, please! Plus, the cover was beautiful.

The collection of stories, however, is not so beautiful. While I haven’t read them (yet), I do know that they combine elements of Gothic fiction with fairy tales, and often put female characters in horrific situations. The point is to contrast females in traditional fairy tales (who were often depicted as weak, and needing rescuing), with strong female characters who stand up for themselves despite their terrifying realities.

A lot of reviews have dubbed The Bloody Chamber as a must-read collection of feminist work. This honestly makes me want to read it even more, and if the reviews hold up, I’ll probably appreciate the stories more than I would have 5+ years ago in university.

My edition (from Penguin Books) is only 126 pages long, so it will likely be easy to get through in a couple hours. I’m hoping I can cross it off my TBR this year, as it fits my 2018 reading challenge goals perfectly, and it’s been sitting on my shelf for too long!

Last week I wrote about Welcome to Night Value, by Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink. Is there a book you own that you haven’t read yet? Let me know!

4 thoughts on “Thursday TBR: The Bloody Chamber

  1. Grab the Lapels says:

    Although it’s short, I remember feeling like it WASN’T a quick read because you want space between each story. It’s not that they’re all horribly brutal, it’s just that sometimes the stories go places that are uncomfortable, which, if you’re like make, make you want to put the book down for a little while.

  2. girlwithallthewordsblog says:

    The Bloody Chamber was on my recommended reading list too, and I never got round to reading it until after I graduated. I’m so glad I did finally read it though; it’s frightening but so intriguing, and the stories take you to the strangest places with a lot of uncomfortable feelings. Definitely worth the read though!

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