If you are a fan of Angela Carter, or simply a lover of fairy tales, then you should go right now and read this beautiful essay on Angela Carter, written by Marina Warner for The Paris Review.
Warner gets right to the heart of what is so magical about Angela Carter’s writing. In the following passage, she describes one of the things I love best about Carter’s writing, that is her ability to invoke the senses, both in sound and sense:
“Open any page and a full score rises from its word-notes, of winds howling, teardrops falling, diamond earrings tinkling, snapping teeth, sneezing, and wheezing. Storytelling for Angela Carter was an island full of noises and sweet airs, and like Caliban, who heard a thousand twangling instruments hum about his ears, she was tuned to an ethereal universe packed with sensations, to which she was alive with every organ. Acoustics are not the only means, however, that she draws on to convey the lucid dreams she creates in her ﬁction. Her imagination is spatial, an architect’s axonometric vision, as she moves us through palaces and castles, forests and tundras, dungeons and attics, tracking with us down pathways towards her various sealed depositories of secrets, those bloody chambers. What reader does not explore with her these passages and woodland tracks? Who does not feel the Beast’s dark carriage like a hearse rumbling towards his eerily uninhabited domain? And who does not sense, through her powerful evocations, the pricking of thorns, the jaw-cracking stringiness of granny, the jangling of bed springs, the licking of a big cat’s tongue, the soft luxurious furs and velvets and skin, and the piercing contrasts with ice, glass, metal?”
Go and read it. You won’t be sorry.