I have no idea why Angela Carter isn’t amongst the most popular writers of our time. I hadn’t even heard of her until she appeared on the reading lists of one of my more obscure degree modules. Since then I have been steadily working my way through just about everything she has ever written.
The Bloody Chamber is a collection of short stories based on famous folk and fairy tales such as Little Red Riding Hood and Bluebeard. Carter extracts all the underlying subtext from the originals and twists them into a collection of straight talking tales that don’t try and hide behind anything. The equivalent of the Red Riding Hood character in these tales inherits all of her Grandmother’s fortunes after Grandma transforms into a werewolf and is consequently stoned to death. Carter is bitingly clever, but she isn’t trying to bullshit anyone.
Almost every story in this collection is a treat, and they’re so short you could read them over breakfast at the weekend.