Never have truer words been spoken!
This collection of short stories crept around my periphery for some time, and I am both overjoyed to have finally given in to it and disappointed in myself for not biting earlier. I came across it originally on a list of fairy-tale retellings on Autostraddle, and when it popped up again in the employee recommendations section of one of my favorite booksellers (Crow Bookshop in Burlington, what’s up!) I knew that it was meant to be. Still, it sat on my shelf and judged me from afar for a few months while I got my act together. Not only do I wish that I had read it at once upon learning that it existed, but I really wish that I had heard of it years and years before. This is the collection of “grown up” fairy tales; this should be handed to every pre-teen girl the second she professes her first love.
The Bloody Chamber is sumptuous, brilliant, filthy, and pulsing with life. It wraps reworkings of Bluebeard (my favorite fairy-tale creep), Beauty and the Beast, Puss in Boots, Red Riding Hood, and many others new and old in lush velvet soaked with still-hot blood. While the first few stories stand on their own, everything tumbles into a fevered-pitch of werewolves and witches within the final few stories.
“We keep the wolves outside by living well.”
Why yes, the band Wolf Alice IS named for the story “Wolf Alice”; a grisly “lost girl” story entrenched in the dawn of womanhood.
“The wolves had tended her because they knew she was an imperfect wolf; we secluded her in animal privacy out of fear of her imperfection because it showed us what we might have been, and so time passed, although she scarcely knew it. Then she began to bleed.”
I would love to do nothing but quote and quote again from this exquisite collection, but I do not want to rob you, dear reader, of your introduction to these dark and beautiful gems, kept as they are on dusty shelves in antiquated but familiar halls.