||[Dec. 3rd, 2004|11:50 am]
the Angela Carter Community
I must admit that I had never heard of the book "Love" before. But, I saw it for sale at a book fair last week, and even though I wasn't really looking for anything new to read, I had to buy it. Aside from the obvious reason that I fully intend to read everything by Carter at some point in my life, I also bought it because it was really cheap and because it was short, so I figured it would be a good quick read. I absolutely loved it. A review on the jacket described it as a novel, but it was only 120 pages, so I would categorize it more as a novella. But I guess that's semantics, really. At any rate, it's a book that you can easily read in a short amount of time.
I think that the characters in this book are actually some of my favorites in any of Carter's books. They were unique and compelling people, and their actions, no matter how extreme, were always believable. I would describe this book as a modernized Gothic (in the traditional literary sense) romance novel. With, of course, Carter's traditional perverse touches.
The prose style is actually rather restrained by Carter's standards. However, there are a few trademark Carter touches, such as her love of incredibly long sentences. Also, the overall tone of the book is much darker than most of her work.
The only complaint I had with the book was the afterward that was added to the addition I bought. I couldn't really ascertain when it was written, but I estimate sometime in the late '80s. Carter wrote it to briefly update what had happened to the characters in the intervening years. But, for me, it was something of a let-down. Maybe I just didn't want to think of these characters growing up into lives of (for the most part) middle-class mediocrity. But I think also the tone of the afterward was sort of dismissive. As if Carter was writing off the characters' behavior as just adolescent foolishness. But more than that, I think that to me the book had a sense of not really taking place in reality. And, aside from a few references to current fashion, it didn't really seem rooted in any particular time period. However the afterward completely shattered that illusion. And also it was obvious that Carter didn't put much passion or imagination into the afterward. It seems almost as if she regarded the book as something, slightly embarrassing, that she did in her youth.
Maybe I'm nit-picking. That didn't really take anything away from my enjoyment of the book itself. I think after a while I will re-read the book, but I'll skip the afterward from now on.