Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Angela Carter, Love (1969)

Well, here's Carter's fifth (and shortest) novel, and I think this is going to be a similarly short blog post. The book concerns the thorny relationship between a man named Lee, his wife Annabel, and his brother Buzz. Annabel is childlike and fragile, Buzz is unpleasant and kind of thuggish, and Lee isn't much better. They do their prescribed things, and...that's about it.

Look: it's Angela Carter, so it's beautifully written. It's also, I'm sorry to say, the second (and, Inshallah, last) of her books that I flat-out didn't like. this isn't a situation like Shadow Dance, which I think was just generally poorly-conceived and executed; rather, this is just a generally unpleasant novel containing little of interest. Some psychological insights? Sure, but all such things are overshadowed by the fact that all the characters are incredibly unpleasant, and the whole thing is very arid--I mentioned re Heroes and Villains that the book was significantly more brains than heart; well, this one takes that to an extreme. Also, it must he said, the character of Annabel is extremely suspect from a feminist perspective, as the brief characterization above might suggest. There is really nothing to her beyond the above characterization. Did I recognize the allusion, in the name of her and her husband, to Poe's "Annabel Lee?" I did. And somehow, I don't think that helps the novel's case much.

If I hadn't already read stuff she'd written after this, I'd think Carter was losing her touch. But I have, so I don't. Onwards and upwards.


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