Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Fairytales and Horror Galore

I've just finished the first of Angela Carter's short stories from The Bloody Chamber, also called The Bloody Chamber, which is a story that take elements from Bluebeard, I will try not to say that these short stories are versions or adaptations of fairy tales as Ms. Carter maintained that they were not so much this as her own stories with elements from fairy tales.

The Bloody Chamber is the longest of the short stories, lasting 42 pages in my version of the book, despite its brief length it weaves such a beautiful, dark tale that I was enthralled from start to finish and even found myself attached to the heroine and the blind piano tuner who falls in love with her and her music. The descriptions are detailed but not boring, I will not say this book rambles but rather weaves a vivid picture of people, places and events. The heroine is young (17), innocent and beautiful, she mentions that she feels her much older husband lusts not just for her beauty but her potential for corruption. This dark undertone to the story makes it ever more delicious, keeping the reader hooked with hints of temptation, lust, horror and murder. It is not an erotic novella or a sex piece of adult fairytales but so much more.

This one short story makes me eager to read the rest, particularly In The Company of Wolves, which is what drew me to the collection in the first place as it, The Werewolf and Wolf-Alice all inspired the movie In The Company of Wolves, one of my favourite werewolf movies of all time, directed by Neil Jordan.

The original Bluebeard, or at least the most complete original version, is by Charles Perrault who implies that the moral is that women should not give into their curiosity, he is quick to blame the woman rather than Bluebeard himself, perhaps because of the time he lived in when women were expected to be obedient to their husbands to a fault. Indeed in The Bloody Chamber there is an implication that the husband wishes to punish the heroine because she disobeyed him and in ways he is regretful for what must now take place.

One image that stays with me is that of a ruby choker meant to mimic a slashed throat in tribute to an ancestor who escaped death and wore a red ribbon around her neck in defiance of it.

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