Orion Reads
a diary of books etc.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

more angela carter

Angela Carter is fantastic. I went on to read a collection of three novels, The Magic Toyshop, The infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman, and Wise Children.

The Magic Toyshop was written early, and is more or less a coming-of-age story about a young girl mixed with puppetry and strange magic, not always good. It explores sexual politics & power, and is quite good.

The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman was written in 1972, and is a a psychedelic masterpiece. I feel that TIDMODH is the novel which The Crying of Lot 49 was trying so hard to discover: a rambling heteromorphic journey through psychological landscapes, but where (imo) Lot 49 is one of the world's most annoying and tedious reads, TIDMODH is totally pleasurable. I have to admit i was free with skipping over parts that began to bore me, but the plot os so non-linear and non-representational that it seemed okay.

Finally, Wise Children is the real crowning jewel in this collection. Written very late in her life (1991), when Carter was about 50, it's the story of identical twin sisters reflecting back on their life as burlesque and movie starlets from the vantage point of sixty or seventy. The title refers to the saying (which i hadn't fully grappled with previously) "It's a wise child that knows it's own father", so you can imagine that there's a fair amount of paternity hijinks, and possibly even maternity too. As always, Carter is frank and charming on the topics of sex, and manages to weave an integrated tale of sexuality from childhood through septagenarianhood. The word "menarchy" appears, you may be sure. I can't recommend this story enough, it's fantastic.


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