Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Shadow Dance (Carter) 442

Initially nervous about reading Angela Carter, I greatly enjoyed reading The magic toyshop back in August and I was quite looking forward (but still quite nervous about) to encountering her again. I found Shadow dance lurking at work when I was looking for a VMC to occupy me one lunchtime and thought that I would give that a go. This was Carter's first novel, and although I found it reasonably enjoyable, I was not gripped in the way that I had been by The magic toyshop. It will be interesting as I read more of Carter to see the development in her writing from this title.

There was a less clearly developed plot in this novel; I felt it was more a description of characters and episodes to illustrate the 1960s urban landscape. It was theatrical and like The magic toyshop, full of distinctive writing utilising fabulous description and imagery. I loved this passage at the beginning describing Ghislaine:

"she used to come here, every night; but she drank little - she only used to have her little half pint to last her a whole evening, a modest, temperate, unassuming half that she would buy for herself, to demonstrate her independence. She would use it to mark her place at a table when she made butterfly darts across the crowd to settle lightly at someone's table, smiling her tremulous, shy, disingenuous smile and saying "Hallooo" with the dying fall of an F.Scott Fitzgerald chick spinning giddily to hell; and she gathered them up in armfuls, her lovers, every night in the manner of a careless baby playing in a meadow, pulling both flowers and grass and nettles and piss-the-beds in a spilling promiscuous bundle"

It's been published a number of times as a VMC, but I've only been able to find a picture online of the most recent edition (above)
(if anyone can help with other pictures, then let me know and I will add them to this post or post about them in future!)


  1. This isn't my favourite Carter novel and her later work is vastly superior but the passage you quote from brings home why I love Carter so much: her writing. Her prose and imagery is so rich, lush and sparkling that she could have been writing about paint drying and I would be enthralled!

  2. My first Carter was The Magic Toyshop, which I absolutely loved. Pity this one isn't as gripping... but, the quoted passage sounds wow (for lack of better words)

  3. Claire - it was weird enjoying the writing but not enjoying the book.

    Anothercookie - have you read any other Carter's? I'd read The magic toyshop but nothing else until this.

  4. Hi Verity,

    I have a spare copy of the Virago edition of The Passion of New Eve, which I would be happy to send to you, if you would like it!

  5. Ooh, that would be very kind! Email me at verityDOTormeATgmailDOTcom and I can let you have my address! Thanks for stopping by - I see you've just joined the world of blogging.