Saturday, February 20, 2010

Shadow Dance by Angela Carter

Angela Carter introduces the reader to a London that isn't talked about in the tourist guides.  It is the London of detached working class men and women scruffing out a living.  The book centers around two friends.  Morris is married to Edna, but rarely goes home to her.  His best friend, Honeybuzzard is an eccentric figure.  Physically attractive but emotionally blunted, he sails through life, using everyone around him for his own purposes.  Morris and Honeybuzzard haphazardly run an antique store, stocked by their forays into abandoned houses where they steal the items they sell.

Honeybuzzard has been away for several months.  A promiscious woman who slept with both the men and most of their acquaintenances, was found raped and cut horribly about the face.  Ghislaine has now returned to the neighborhood after getting out of the hospital, horribly disfigured.  The rumour mill says that Honeybuzzard may have been the culprit, although the offical report blames a roving gang. 

Honeybuzzard has also returned, with a new lover, Emily, in tow.  The book follows the lives of these characters as they meet and fall apart and struggle into new configurations. 

Shadow Dance is Angela Carter's first book, and it is my introduction to her writing.  The writing is stark yet compelling, and her deft touch introduces characters that inhabit the mind long after the last page is read.  This book is recommended for fiction readers.

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