English novelist and short story writer, the key words to describe her being post-feminism, magic realism, picaresque; Shadow Dance (1966) has its main characters endlessly roaming the backstreets of London, tormenting people, charming and cheating all around, while developing a pervert curiosity for abandoned buildings; The Magic Toyshop (1967) is a coming of age story told in post-modern tones; Several Perceptions (1968) is a tale of decaying houses, elderly tramps and young hippies, a universe sliding towards hyper-reality; Heroes and Villains (1969) takes us after a nuclear Armageddon, in a world where all our certainties (moral, cultural, even biological) have changed and humans have split in rival species; Love (1971) is not exactly about love, rather love triangle, placing its heroes into a labyrinthic inferno of fidelity / infidelity and extreme alienation; The War of Dreams (1972) presents a community under attack by some reality distorting machines that expand the space and time, allowing monstrous mirages to enter the normal life; most of the people get insane; one of the personages is determined to get the situation back to normal; that puts him on a crash course through alternate worlds; The Passion of New Eve (1977) and Nights at the Circus (1984 - maybe Carter's best known novel) are definitely post-feminist - the matriarchal myths are deconstructed to show that they ultimately lead to the same phalocentric symbols of the male built universes; plus seven short fiction collections, plus poetry, plus non-fiction, etc.; all in all, it sounds insane; truth is that Carter's literary output has an uncanny power of charming the readers and keeping them captive.
Maybe it's good to start by reading one of Carter's short stories, to get a grasp of her world of words and fantasies. Here is a link to The Merchant of Shadows, that I have found in the London Review of Books. It is part of American Ghosts and Old World Wonders collection of short fiction. I found also a discussion about this story (in Metafiction and Metahistory in Contemporary Women's Writing)
(A Life in Books)
Labels: Angela Carter