To begin, with the exception of the eponymous story at the beginning , these stories are the stylstic masterpieces of a miniaturist virtuoso. These renarrated fairy tales are nuanced stories that give the reader pause to reconsider his or her sexuality and the inherent violence and danger attendant upon it.-And then, perhaps, to reflect that the fairy stories in their original form were less explicit forms of the same thing for children....As the writer Djuna Barnes puts it in Nightwood, "God, children know something they can't tell; they like Red Riding Hood and the wolf in bed!"
The first story, is, to my taste, the only failure here. It's a bit too heavy-handed and obvious, and the imagery and phraseology borrow too much from Poe, particularly from his "The Fall of The House of Usher." They leave you straining for an impact which is just not there. That said, the rest of the stories are erotic/metaphysical gems in which the reader can peer into his or her own sexuality in its many (mostly crimsoned) facets.
There is a subtle but deep undertone here that, in some way, our sexuality makes us all otherworldy ghouls and outcasts from the civilized world. As the narrator puts it in "The Lady of the House of Love," "The end of exile is the end of being."-In other words, our sexuality metamorphoses (one of Carter's favourite words and themes)us into vampires, werewolves and sadistic murderers, if only in our imagination, and frequently in life.
An exqusite book to pique anyone's interest into his or her sexuality and its implications, both in the realms of action and imagination