Book of Wayward Girls and Wicked Women
edited by Angela Carter
Angela Carter’s Book of Wayward Girls and Wicked Women was a book I bought a few years ago of the shelf in a bookstore I used to work in. I’ve seen the name of Angela Carter and a title and I just had to have it. I loved Angela Carter’s short story compilation The Bloody Chamber and some of her stories captured my imagination for a long time after reading them. I enjoyed them and remember them fondly. I fully expected to read female authors writing about female characters and and female lives.
This collection is composed of eighteen different stories from various female authors that come form different cultures and different parts of the world. I was in the middle of reading these stories during the International Women’s Day March 8th. It was a great way to celebrate it by reading a book from women about women that talks about different aspects of women. The title suggested the less traditional but much more real women.
- The Last Crop by Elizabeth Jolley ★★★★
This first story in the collection is a very inspiring and quirky just like the mother in this story is. The resourcefulness and and the well meaning caught me by surprise. I like the pace this story has set for the rest of the collection.
- The Debutante by Leonora Carrington ★★★★★
This story was so short that just as I got into it was over. I liked the idea and how it was written! Loved the fact that the story had a hyena in it!
- from The Gloria Stories by Rocky Gamez ★★★
This was by far one of the most confusing stories I’ve read. Gender bender quality of the story aside, what gave me trouble was that I could not place it in any timeline. I needed more cultural pointers to get into the story. I was confused by switching from issues of ignorance and homosexuality.
- Life by Bessie Head ★★★★★
The main character is a woman named Life. This story hit me hard. Life dies in a very relatable way many women have died trough the ages.
- A Guatemalan Idyll by Jane Bowels ★★
This story was the longest so far with around 40 pages. It read like a piece for the theater and the characters were one dimensional and oppressive.
- The Young Girl by Katherine Mansfield ★★★★
The short form of the story alluded to certain motives but they were never fully explored. This story was more like a painting than a narrative and everything it had to say could have been made in to a painting.
- Three Feminist Fables by Suniti Namjoshi ★★★★★
Three very short texts. So short one can hardly call them stories. So far they reminded me the most of the Angela Carter’s other works and I enjoyed them the most as well! The fantastic elements and dry humor translated much more than words can convey.
- The Rainy Moon by Colette ★★
One of the longest and most tedious stories so far. I just had trouble concentrating. The mentioned background characters were confusing and I struggled between „French realism“ setting and motives of the story.
- Wedlock by George Egerton ★★★
I had some trouble with reading this story due to the English slang dialogues. The whole story was dripping with melancholy and it affected me more than I liked it to admit.
- Violet by Frances Towers ★★★★
This story presented how people more often make decisions based on their fear. Rather nice story with a gloomy ending.
- The Plums by Ama Ata Aidoo ★★★★★
I loved the verse writing style. It was very emotional and very symbolic. Prose was heavy with meaning and some of it scared me.
- A Woman Young and Old by Grace Paley ★★★★★
I think this story has captured so many aspects of what matriarchy could feel like.
- The Long Trial by Andree Chedid ★★★
I appreciated the cultural diversity this story brought with it. The religious theme is quite thought provoking and satisfying.
- The Loves of Lady Purple by Angela Carter ★★★
Dark and playfully twisted. I like that she used a doll as a story element.
- The Earth by Djuna Barnes ★★★
I liked the writing style and the motives. The characters were unique and very expressive against their own nature. I was surprised at how some themes transcend well trough time and I can understand them better than I thought I would.
- Oke of Okehurst by Vernon Lee ★★★★
A very elaborate story with gothic elements. Sort of melancholy and captures the English countryside with „weltshmertz“ theme.
- Girl by Jamiaca Kincaid ★★★★
I have a thing for these short forms with lots of repetitions and even more hidden meanings.
- Aunt Liu by Luo Shu ★★★★
I’m ambivalent toward this story. I’m not sure I can digest what it is suggesting. Although i’m sure that a man in the situation of aunt Liu would probably be celebrated hero and a martyr…
There were only two stories I did not like. The five of the stories were excellent and I enjoyed them so much. The rest were either good or very good. The general rating of the collection is four stars out of five. These stories were not celebrating women power but were delving into those female traits that are rarely explored by authors and media. Some characters were inspiring and ingenious others were thought provoking and melancholy. I’m very pleased with this book and the stories I’ve read.