[ARC] Slipping by Lauren Beukes

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Lauren Beukes, author of The Shining Girls, Moxyland and Zoo City, here collects stories and essays published elsewhere during years.

The collection is heterogeneous: some of the tales emerges with respect to others and leave a vivid memory. One of these is the one that gives the title to the book, and it is quite strong: in the future corporations sponsor athletes and their body enhancements; the girl protagonist of the story do not have any more her guts, other athletes have some limb replaced by something similar to a paw and so on.

In some tales we face women protagonists forced to adapt to exploitation or market rules, more or less willingly, and women able to fight for their independence (like Thozama in Smileys who fights against the soldier who wants to protects her and asks for her money).

Some setting are extreme (like the dramatic science-fiction The Green), to get to the absurd and to the meta-fiction (Unathi Battles the Black Hariballs, a story with mechas that I did not particularly like).

The essays are the last part of the book and deals about violence against women (All the Pretty Corpses, where the author explains what brought her to write The Shining Girls), about live in the African cities suburbs (Inner City, linked to the researches to write Zoo City), and the last one, On Beauty, is a beautiful letter to the author’s daughter about beauty to teach her that it is not only about – extreme – physical standards, but it’s something more: to be gentle, to be smart, to be intelligent.

Overall it’s a good collection, not all the story have the same quality, but the best of them will be remembered.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.


* Slipping by Lauren Beukes ★★★☆☆½

*I read this book in english

The bloody chamber and other stories by Angela Carter

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“The bloody chamber” is one of the stories by Angela Carter contained in this collection. The stories are inspired by fairy tales and myths, some of them in fact can also be defined as retelling.

The author stated that:

My intention was not to do ‘versions’ or, as the American edition of the book said, horribly, ‘adult’ fairy tales, but to extract the latent content from the traditional stories.

In every story the latent symbolism of the classic fairy tales is exasperated: these version by Angela Carter allow the reader to think about different topics and it’s very hard to let them slip out your mind; they are captivating, wonderfully written and full of idea to analyze both the original fairy tales themes, both the symbols introduced by the writer herself.

The tales have original traits even if they take origin from existing narrative structures: for example the story of Beauty and the Beast is adapted in two completely different versions.

The stories have in common strong-willed women characters, well aware of their sexuality – or becoming so during the story – who face with courage their problems.

This collection was a wonderful discovery that I absolutely suggest to read.

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* The bloody chamber and other stories by Angela Carter ★★★★★

*I read this book in English