As soon as I got an audience telling dark fairy tales online, people were recommending Angela Carter’s brilliant The Bloody Chamber to me. In fact, one follower loves it so much, they sent me a copy! Thank you to them.
I really loved Carter’s literary take on popular fairy tales. Many short stories are direct twists on familiar tales (Bluebeard, Beauty and the Beast, Red Riding Hood) but others feel like original tales based on common motifs and characters (like “The Lady of the House of Love” and “Wolf-Alice.”)
My favorites were the salacious and funny “Puss-in-Boots,” the sexy and triumphant “The Erl-King,” and “The Lady of the House of Love,” her vampiric Sleeping Beauty tale. I don’t usually enjoy vampire fiction, but Carter’s depiction of our heroine, a reluctant descendent of Nosferatu, was lush and weird and tragic in the best way.
Carter’s prose is very rich (and uh, I had to keep a dictionary nearby – what can I say, I’ve been a children’s librarian for twelve years?) and lovely. Some stories are quite dark – “The Snow Child” in particular is only two pages long but the most vicious and triggering tale. If you are a fan of Gaiman’s “Snow, Glass Apples” and have missed this one, absolutely get a copy as soon as possible.