Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Fireworks [Book Review]

Hello there!

Title: Fireworks
Author: Angela Carter
Publisher: Quartet Books
Published Date: 1974
Rating: 4 stars


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Synopsis: In the short fiction of Angela Carter, the landmarks of reality disappear and give way to a landscape of riotous and uncensored sensibility. The city of Tokyo turns into a mirrored chamber reflecting the impossible longings of an exiled Englishwoman abandoned by her Japanese lover. An itinerant puppet show becomes a theatre of murderous lust. A walk through the forest ends in a nightmarish encounter with a gun-toting nymph and her hermaphrodite ‘aunt’. Not simply a book of tales, Fireworks is a headlong plunge into an alternate universe, the unique creation of one of the most fertile, dark, irreverent, and baroquely beautiful imaginations in contemporary fiction.

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Review: This is a short story collection recommended to me by my older sister. I decided to read it without quite knowing what I was getting into, and I quite enjoyed the short stories here. Angela Carter is an author new to me, but she certainly does know how to vividly paint pictures in the reader’s mind and bring across subtle messages with her words.

All of Angela Carter’s stories were so beautifully written. I can’t say it any better than my sister did when she described it to me – the author uses very purple writing. Occasionally, I must admit, it made it a little difficult to understand some of the stories or what I was supposed to be thinking about when reading them. However, in some stories it perfectly worked with the voice and the message to make a mini masterpiece in itself. I don’t think her writing will cater to everyone’s taste, but if you generally enjoy classics then I am sure it can be something for you.

I also really liked that all of the stories were set in Tokyo. If you know me, you know I am someone who is big on culture and having stories set in different countries than the usual Britain or USA that I always seem to be reading about, makes me incredibly happy. Some of the stories were also set in alternate worlds that weren’t exactly Tokyo as well. But I was happy.


Of course, with every collection, there were some stories I liked more than others. I’m going to discuss some of my favourites here in this review.

A Souvenir of Japan: I really liked this story because of the message behind it. I found it to be about the difference between appearances vs reality, and you can think of this best when it comes to first impressions, which almost never really add up to who you really are. This message was described through a romance in the short story, and I really liked how it was done.

The Executioner’s Beautiful Daughter: This one I understood to be about humanity and what that word itself entails. Right about the same time as reading this collection I was also reading The Summer That Melted Everything byTiffany McDaniel, and I was so intrigued in this topic. It was interesting to see how Carter handled that.


The Lovers of Lady Purple: Now this was a story I had a mix of emotions about. It said something about language and communication, both in verbal terms and those of the body. It said something about seductiveness. It said something about your own creation occasionally growing bigger than you and how it can overwhelm you if you are not careful. The ending was twisted and I'm still not sure what to quite make of it yet. But this one definitely held my interesting.

Penetrating to the Heart of the Forest: Again, this one seemed to be dealing with humanity. How it is best when at one with nature. I also got quite a few Adam and Eve like vibes from this story, and yet it was twisted away from that too. Almost like a sinister version of a retelling.

Elegy for a Freelance: As the last of these stories this one was almost a bittersweet ending to a collection I didn’t want to leave. It was also the most interesting of them all. It dealt with murder, death and idolization of someone close to you. Love can be blinding and Carter played on that common saying.


All in all, these short stories were a quick read, but left me thinking about them between reading story to story. I especially loved the meanings of the novel and Carter manages to add sinister or dark twists to almost all of them. Definitely thought provoking and worthwhile reading.

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Gif Summary: 



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Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Olivia’s Question: What do you think defines the word humanity?


Olivia-Savannah x

16 comments:

  1. I don't read that many short stories but love the idea of them- a book that you can pick up, read a story or two, then put down. Glad you enjoyed these. Love the photos of your books -- and snacks! Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen at YA Romantics

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    1. Yes, it makes it the perfect read to dip and dive into when time is limited, or you only want to read a little. ;)

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  2. Humanity? How much time do we have? It's a spectrum of us--all that is beautiful and not so.

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    1. For the limited time you had, I think you summarised us pretty well :)

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  3. Ooooh short stories. GIMME! This book really sounds wonderful! <3

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    1. I think you'd be able to appreciate this one!

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  4. Glad your sister's recommendation turned out to be a good one. I don't read many short stories- but I do enjoy them from time to time. Thanks for sharing- this sounds like a great collection.
    ~Jess

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  5. Sounds like a really well done collection of stories. The setting is a big draw for me. Great review!

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    1. The setting was such a lovely touch ^.^

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  6. I'm not usually a fan of short stories, but this collection sounds very intriguing!

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  7. I bloody love Carter's writing style. She knows what she's doing and the way her stories are delivered is amazing! I will highly recommend you reading The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories. Super dark and twisted and so much feminism

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    1. She definitely does, and it makes reading her work like looking for long lost writing style perfection. I'm going to be reading more of hers, so I will add that to my TBR!

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  8. I love short stories and this collection is intriguing. I love that the setting in Japan. A cultural read is always enlightening. :)

    Dinh@Arlene's Book Club

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    1. Yes, this one is just beautiful in general. Hope you choose to pick it up ^.^

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