I first read an Angela Carter novel in 2010, an amazing book called ‘The Passion of New Eve’: it was a set text on one of my elective modules.
I read Carter and I fell for her. Her words stream like a song, I swear, and I didn’t let go of the book for two days. ‘The Passion of New Eve’ details the life of a misogynist man living in dystopian New York, who ends up being kidnapped and is given a sex change by a tribe of militant and malicious women. It’s fascinating to read a novel of this genre – magical realism, through the lens of a post-operation trans woman who never wanted it in the first place. It’s gross, it’s good, it’s genius.
Angela Carter writes of boisterous, fiery women, more akin to mythical sirens than modern day post-feminist figures. She has no sympathy for timid or unassuming women – Angela Carter writes bitches, and I love that. Before her death in 1992, she was a feminist-literature icon. I am now the proud owner of all but 3 of her books, and cannot help myself when I see one of her books on ebay, even if it’s just a different cover. Her books are long-train ride gems – the kind of books you read with a broken-heart, when you’re feeling inspired – when you’re truly enjoying a night in. They’re beautiful and they’re grotesque – they’re sublime. The one thing about Carter is that she was fiercely unique: she was incredibly well-read and yet grounded. She wrote to ignite the minds of bookish types. Thanks Angela Carter, for knocking my favourite books down a place each on my top ten, and for making me read everything differently.
This is a guest post by SFN founding member Eleri, originally published in the SFN zine Pandora Press #1: Our Feminist Heroes.