Friday, 7 August 2015

Angela Carter - always fireworks

Angela Carter is one of those writers I keep coming back to. I love the rich density of her prose.  The Company of Wolves is one of my all-time favourite short stories.  Her prose is like reading the best poetry.  Not the sort of poetry that seems deliberately inaccessible, as if this somehow proves a poet's worth, but because her sentences - her paragraphs - allow themselves to be peeled back, like a lover's clothes, layer after layer, to reveal the finest, most delicate of truths.

I recently highlighted this final paragraph from her short story A Souvenir of Japan, which appears in the Fireworks anthology:
So we lived under a disorientated moon which was as angry a purple as if the sky had bruised its eye, and, if we made certain genuine intersections, these only took place in darkness.  His contagious conviction that our love was unique and desperate infected me with an anxious sickness; soon we would learn to treat one another with the circumspect tenderness of comrades who are amputees, for we were surrounded by the most moving images of evanescence, fireworks, morning glories, the old, children.  But the most moving of these images were the intangible reflections of ourselves we saw in one another's eyes, reflections of nothing but appearances, in a city dedicated to seeming, and, try as we might to possess the essence of each other's otherness, we would inevitably fail.