My January read was The Invention of Angela Carter by Edmund Gordon, a fascinating biography of a truly original British writer.
Best known for mad, bad and dangerous characters, Carter’s writing is a masterclass in storytelling.
Like many English Lit students, Carter popped up on my uni reading list. She settled, chain-smoking in my brain with her witty, sensual darkness. Her fiction is lodged in my mind, the invention of a little bit of me too.
“Her work is by turns funny, sexy, frightening and brutal, but it’s always shaped by a keen, subversive intelligence and a style of luxuriant beauty.” – Edmund Gordon
What this book does so well is to highlight the real depth of Carter’s literary awareness. Her intentional subversiveness, her feminism, her strength and vulnerabilities. She really bloody knew her stuff, but hated pomposity. Gordon’s research shines a light on the birth of Carter’s personal and professional identity until her tragic death aged 51.
As I finished the book, I discovered that The Royal West of England Academy in Bristol are celebrating Angela Carter’s work with a major exhibition, twenty five years after her death. Strange Worlds: The Vision of Angela Carter runs until the 19 March 2017, and as you would expect it is full of the bizarre, the wild and the beautiful.
One electric moment stopped me in my tracks. A small glass cabinet and a label that simply read: ‘Angela’s pen’.
More about the year in books
The year in books is an ongoing project by the wonderful Laura from Circle of Pine Trees. The aim of the project is to read at least a book a month during the year. Anyone can join in at anytime, just pop over to Laura’s blog for full details. #theyearinbooks
My February read is Shirley by Charlotte Brontë. Published after Jane Eyre, and set during a time of social turmoil (sounds familiar). You can’t go far wrong with a Brontë can you? I’ll let you know.