The Invention of Angela Carter - Edmund Gordon
A good biography gives you the facts about a life and insight on how it was lived, but only the very best make you feel the subject is someone you don’t just admire, but actually know. Gordon’s life of Angela Carter (1940-1992) brings the writer beautifully, vividly to life. He gives sensitive close readings of her work and traces ideas, images, and her fighting spirit to people she knew, books she read, places she went. He skillfully meshes her interests, and especially her feminism, with those of the turbulent 1960s and ‘70s, and draws extensively from her journals (fabulous creations, collages of everyday events and clippings from all over) and her many, many friends, including Rushdie and Ishiguro. He admires Carter’s flamboyance, but calls her on her exaggerations. He explains her behavior, but doesn’t always excuse it. Above all, he focuses on what she focused on: her writing, especially the fiction but also the journalism, the poetry, the attempts at screenplays, and more. Ultimately, he finds his ebullient, brilliant subject “much too big for any single book to contain” and leaves us to read the ones Carter left—all still in print, and more popular than ever.