This collection of Carter’s short stories is made up of those which riff on traditional fairy tales and folklore. It includes multiple versions of “Beauty and the Beast” and “Little Red Riding Hood,” as well as “Puss in Boots,” Bluebeard, and others. The narrative tone ranges from a sort of mid-range erotic storytelling (in the title piece), to pretty hilarious banter (“Puss in Boots,” which thanks to the Shrek movies, my mind’s ear heard in the voice of Antonio Banderas), to surreal impressionism (“The Erlking”).
While these are construed as “adult tales” (and I would certainly hesitate to read them to children), they simply bring an adult perspective to the sort of questions and enigmas that have always lurked in such traditional stories. A few involve a little — very little — “updating,” in that there is occasionally a telephone mentioned, or some other piece of culture or technology to imply a twentieth-century setting. But on the whole, Carter keeps her subjects in the timeless realms of dream and desire.
Carter’s prose is luxuriant, and the brevity of these stories makes them apt bedtime reading from one grownup to another. [via]
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