My Photo


Blog powered by Typepad

« reading challenges for the summer | Main | improving on the old masters »

Wednesday, 11 June 2014


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


I haven't read this, but I shall have to try and track it down. It sounds very much in a similar vein to Love. I really like the last bit you quoted: VERY Angela Carter. :) I think that her writing is actually a lot more funny than most people think.

I agree about the cover. What were they thinking, I wonder?

Carter was just a brilliant writer, wasn't she? I haven't read anyone else who can cut to the heart of things in quite the same way. I hope you like Love.

Delia (Postcards from Asia)

Even though "disturbing" is not an unusual word when describing Angela Carter's prose, I think this novel might just be too bleak for my taste. I hope you enjoy Love.

Carol S

Fabulous commentary. Angela Carter's complexity just there on the page. Thank you


Hello Violet, and thank you for your comment! It IS very similar to 'Love', I can see why people link them. That same heightened reality and deadpan humour.

I find her very funny. Ridiculing F.R. Leavis is as much a crime as leeching off your girlfriend, that made me laugh. I don't think I managed to convey her humour at all here, unfortunately.

It's been a while since I read her and I'd forgotten what a brilliant writer she was, and how varied her fiction is. I find her middle period novels hard to like, but they are mind-blowing. And then her later novels are different again, yet all with that stamp of her character on them.

Hm, she seems to incline me to wafflyism in comments as well as posts!


Hello Delia!

Now I feel terrible, I think I have misrepresented the book entirely. Attempted suicide IS bleak, but the book itself is funny and also optimistic. The ending, with a marvellous party in a crumbling mansion, is very happy and hopeful. (But I think that even though she's often so deeply disturbing, Carter is essentially an optimistic writer.)

She wrote this after 'The Magic Toyshop' and I would say that if you liked that novel, you will also enjoy this one.


Hello Carol!

Thank you for your kind comment, you've made my day!


What a wonderful post, Helen. I haven't read any of the novels of The Bristol Trilogy, but I will do so soon. I like the Vietnam theme in this and how she writes about it. I often thought of her as being very removed from contemporary issues but it's not true at all. In the story collection I'm reading she mentions overpopulation several times.
I hope you'll like Love just as much.

Mel u

So far I have read only short stories by Angela Carter. I love fairy tales, especially dark retellings. I really enjoyed your post and will hopefully one day venture beyond her wonderful stories.


Thank you, Caroline! I'm enjoying 'Love' very much. Although I wish I knew something about the Tarot, this seems to feature in both novels.

You mentioned dirt in your post on 'The Magic Toyshop' and there's a LOT of dirt in 'Several Perceptions' courtesy of Joseph's lack of washing. Buzz in 'Love' is something of a stranger to the bathtub too. So there seems to be a lot of masculine grubbiness around. I wonder what it means? Being free of conventions, being slightly unhinged, something connected with male sexuality?


Hello Mel, thank you so much for your comment. I haven't read very many of Angela Carter's short stories at all, only those in 'The Bloody Chamber'. I am sure that if you're a fan of her stories you will enjoy her novels too.


Of this trilogy I've only read Love- I didn't know it had these connected books! I found it quite disturbing- though as someone else has commented, that's not uncommon with Angela Carter. But also a little bleaker than I was expecting. I think there's something almost hyper-masculine in the main character there (and maybe here?) that was really off-putting for me. I would be really interested to hear your thoughts on Love after this!


Catie, I must say that having finished 'Love', which I enjoyed, I prefer 'Several Perceptions'. I found the characters more interesting, it's' funnier and it's much less overwrought and bleak - yes, I usually expect to be disturbed but in her other books there is usually some compensatory optimism. Not here - well, not in the original, my edition had an afterword in which, 20 years later, Carter tells us what she thinks happened to the surviving characters, and she is kinder to them.

Also, by the end, I was just willing Annabel to get on with it and die or for Buzz and/or Lee to fall down a well or something. :)


I think I will have to try some of AC's longer fiction - they sound fascinating.


Hello Brona, well, 'Several Perceptions' is a good one to try as it's short. Lucky you having all that unread Carter before you! :)


An Angela Carter novel I didn't even know existed! Gosh, I will have to try and track a copy down, though maybe not one with that particular cover (your comment made me laugh!). Loved your review, Helen, such sensitive insight.


Yes, there is a lack of recumbent naked females and dancing hermaphrodites in dressing-gowns in the novel... Thank you for your kind words! It's much less opulent in style than her later books, and more controlled, perhaps. More conventional. But I like it very much.

The comments to this entry are closed.