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This marvelous collection of stories about bad girls, wicked women and unsatisfactory wives is designed to promote the female virtues of discontent, sexual disruptiveness and bad manners, and to give a positive role to women who will not put up with the status quo, and to hell with the consequences. Widely ranging in time and place, these subversive tales -- by Grace Paley This marvelous collection of stories about bad girls, wicked women and unsatisfactory wives is designed to promote the female virtues of discontent, sexual disruptiveness and bad manners, and to give a positive role to women who will not put up with the status quo, and to hell with the consequences. Widely ranging in time and place, these subversive tales -- by Grace Paley, Bessie Head, Katherine Mansfield, Elizabeth Jolley, Djuna Barnes, Colette, Angela Carter, Jamaica Kincaid, Ama Ata Aidoo, Jane Bowles and many more -- all have one thing in common: to restore adventuresses and revolutionaries to the rightful position as models for all women, everywhere. Leonora Carrington's debutante swaps places with a hyena who exchanges the cage for the ball -- and goes dressed to kill. Christina Stead's seedy seducer is eventually wrecked by the utterly conventional bride. Some of these stories celebrate toughness and resilience, some of them low cunning: all of them are about not being nice.


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This marvelous collection of stories about bad girls, wicked women and unsatisfactory wives is designed to promote the female virtues of discontent, sexual disruptiveness and bad manners, and to give a positive role to women who will not put up with the status quo, and to hell with the consequences. Widely ranging in time and place, these subversive tales -- by Grace Paley This marvelous collection of stories about bad girls, wicked women and unsatisfactory wives is designed to promote the female virtues of discontent, sexual disruptiveness and bad manners, and to give a positive role to women who will not put up with the status quo, and to hell with the consequences. Widely ranging in time and place, these subversive tales -- by Grace Paley, Bessie Head, Katherine Mansfield, Elizabeth Jolley, Djuna Barnes, Colette, Angela Carter, Jamaica Kincaid, Ama Ata Aidoo, Jane Bowles and many more -- all have one thing in common: to restore adventuresses and revolutionaries to the rightful position as models for all women, everywhere. Leonora Carrington's debutante swaps places with a hyena who exchanges the cage for the ball -- and goes dressed to kill. Christina Stead's seedy seducer is eventually wrecked by the utterly conventional bride. Some of these stories celebrate toughness and resilience, some of them low cunning: all of them are about not being nice.

30 review for Wayward Girls and Wicked Women

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nandakishore Varma

    As I have said before, any short story collection usually tends to collect 3 stars from me. This is only logical, as any collection will contain the good, the bad and the average: so the mean is likely to cluster around the centre for most (hence the bell-shaped curve of the normal distribution). The exceptions occur when the editor goes out of his/ her way to choose extremely good (or bad!) stories: or when the stories revolve around a common theme, giving and taking from one another, so that t As I have said before, any short story collection usually tends to collect 3 stars from me. This is only logical, as any collection will contain the good, the bad and the average: so the mean is likely to cluster around the centre for most (hence the bell-shaped curve of the normal distribution). The exceptions occur when the editor goes out of his/ her way to choose extremely good (or bad!) stories: or when the stories revolve around a common theme, giving and taking from one another, so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts - as is the case with the book in question. Wayward Girls and Wicked Women, edited by Angela Carter, is true to its title. This book is filled with stories about women and girls who are wayward in every way, from society's (read men's) viewpoint: written by authors separated by a century. There are confidence tricksters, prostitutes, lesbians and even murderers-but there are no damsels in distress. Each and every one of these women are their own masters. Thus we meet the con woman of Elizabeth Jolley's The Last Crop; the lesbians of Rocky Gamez's The Gloria Stories and Ama Ata Aidoos's The Plums; the sexually promiscuous women who revel in their own sexuality of Bessie Head's Life and Jane Bowles's A Guatemalan Idyll; and the witches of Colette's Rainy Moon and Frances Tower's Violet. There are also young girls coming to terms with their sexuality in a socially unacceptable way (The Young Girl by Katherine Mansfield and A Woman Young and Old by Grace Paley) and women who have fallen prey to the familiar devil, drink (Wedlock by George Egerton, Aunt Liu by Lo Shu). All of these stories are not tragedies: not all have happy endings, either. But they have one thing in common - the indefatigable spirit of their heroines (no, I will not use the word protagonist - each of these wayward girls and wicked women are true heroines in their own right). In style, the stories range from the romantic (Oke of Okehurst by Vernon Lee) to realist (The Long Trial by Andree Chedid). Some of them are akin to fairy tales (The Earth by Djuna Barnes) while some are outright fables (The Debutante by Leonora Carrington, Three Feminist Fables by Suniti Namjoshi). One cannot be even called a story, rather a vignette (Girl by Jamaica Kincaid). Angela Carter's own story, The Loves of Lady Purple, is the most powerful story of the collection and the most difficult to categorise. It can be seen either as a fable, dark fantasy, or horror: but whatever be the genre, this dark tale of a puppet come to life, making the dark fantasies of her master a horrifying reality, may be seen to supply the theme for the entire book - a puppet breaking its strings. A worthwhile collection to read and to keep.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Laura Anne

    This is a remarkably mixed bunch of stories. I think Angela Carter focused more on meeting the criteria of her title rather than collecting quality writing. She does say in her introduction: "'Wayward Girls and Wicked Women': the title of this collection is, of course ironic. Very few of the women in these stories are guilty of criminal acts, although all of them have spirit and one or two of them, to my mind, are, or have the potential to be, really evil." And later she explains a further requir This is a remarkably mixed bunch of stories. I think Angela Carter focused more on meeting the criteria of her title rather than collecting quality writing. She does say in her introduction: "'Wayward Girls and Wicked Women': the title of this collection is, of course ironic. Very few of the women in these stories are guilty of criminal acts, although all of them have spirit and one or two of them, to my mind, are, or have the potential to be, really evil." And later she explains a further requirement of her selection: "... morality as regards women has nothing to do with ethics; it means sexual morality and nothing but sexual morality ... Therefore I have been careful to select bad girls who are not sexual profligates." This, however, is not strictly true. Two of her stories deal with sexually profligate characters - her own story "The Loves of Lady Purple", for which she provides an excuse, and "Life", by Bessie Head. I suspect this is the reason, why some of the stories are to be frank - sinkers/a dead loss etc. Carter limited her range too severely by trying to find stories to match her very specific subject and failed somewhat on quality - I would have thought quality more important. That said, however that are some remarkable stories and writers - so I'll begin with those. The totally outstanding story for me, is Frances Towers', "Violet" - completely strange and wonderful with a distinctive tone that marks it out as number ONE. I was so impressed that I checked on Towers and found she only had one collection - "Tea with Mr Rochester", published in 1948, which is available through Persephone books. My next favourite is Elizabeth Jolley's "The Last Crop", and as this is a re-read I was amazed to find that every word of this story came back to my reading mind - with the original delight. In fact I remember (from 10/15 years ago) feeling guilty on behalf of the good doctor who wants to purchase the old farm and is foiled by the mother of the household with her - "one last crop". I obviously identifed with this story: a poor urban family have the chance to move back to the outback farm that the grandfather bought in his last years - a long bus ride from the town, it is set in a dry Australian valley with its own beauty; peaceful and quiet. Without the doctor's money the family can do nothing with it, but once the house is sold, to the doctor, with the proviso of the "last crop", they have money enough to live there, and enjoy for the first time in their lives a house in the country. Next one along - these are not in the same order as the book - just my own list of best to least, so the next is "from The Gloria Stories" by Rocky Gamez. I was surprised to find that these are supposedly true stories, as the narrator is our girl Rocky - she does feature, but mostly as an observer, as the stories are about the oddball Gloria. Here's the introduction - which I love: Every child aspires to be something when she grows up. Sometimes these aspirations are totally ridiculous, but coming from the mind of a child they are forgiven and given enough time, they are forgotten. ... My friend Gloria, however, never went beyond aspiring to be one thing, and one thing only. She wanted to be a man. Long after I had left for college to learn the intricacies of being an educator, my youngest sister would write to me long frightening letters in which she would say that she had seen Gloria barrelling down the street in an old Plymouth honking at all the girls walking down the sidewalk. There is a Southern vibe to this - as if it might be a Harper Lee, or a Eudora Welty backwater town. But the narrative is dynamic and great fun to read. Number 4 - "Life" by Bessie Head - she is a superb, skilled and original writer. The story is set in Africa - Botswana to be precise, about a woman who returns to her small village after living for 17 years in Johannesburg. For me the story encapsulated exactly that difference in attitude and character that exemplifies people who come from poor "Third World" type countries: Custom demanded that people care about each other, and all day long there was this constant traffic of people in and out of each other's lives. Someone had to be buried; sympathy and help were demanded for this event - there were money loans, new born babies, sorrow, trouble, gifts. ... It was the basic strength of village life. It created people whose sympathetic and emotional responses were always fully awakened, and it rewarded them by richly filling in a void that was one big, gaping yawn. Her story is short but powerful, and her understanding of the clash that happens between different cultures or two worlds brought together as in city/village - is perfectly brought to life with her realistic characters - Life and Lesego, and the village setting. And now we have the stories that pleased: some of these are extremely short and take only a few minutes to read. Suniti Namjoshi's "Three Feminist Fables" - excellent: Leonora Carrington's "The Debutante" - fun, "Girl" by Jamaica Kincaid - read many times before. In the short section also are: "The Earth" by Djuna Barnes, a happy ending folk-type tale about two sisters, Polish peasants; the exceedingly well written, and poignant "Aunt Liu" by Lou Shu - a very short story with which I could easily identify. Set in China about a poor servant woman, badly treated by all around her. And now the O.K., section - by this I mean that I liked the stories and I could easily see how they would fit into Carter's selection, and I don't have any particular woes, or complaints against them. Jane Bowles - "A Guatemalan Idyll" - this is a very clever send up of, I would think, a typical middle-class American man, on a business trip to a place he finds - extraordinary, and exotic. Katherine Mansfield's "The Young Girl" - I've read this in various Mansfield collections, but it's certainly typical of her work - set in the early 20th century, about a spoilt, little rich girl - acute observations. George Egerton's "Wedlock" - this has the style of late Victorian - but a convincingly macabre edge to keep the reader's interest. Andree Chedid's "The Long Trial" - a fable type story - not one that stood out for me. Set in Morocco about very poor village people. Grace Paley's "A Woman Young and Old" - and I think with this one - we are definitely approaching my NEUTRAL ground. And so finally to the ones that I DID NOT LIKE - AT ALL. Carter's very own - "The Loves of Lady Purple" - Carter as far as I can see specialises in dense, long winded sentences, with unique vocabulary, that still manage to be grammatically correct, but your eye tends to dwell on this rather than the story. If you like her style then you may like the story - I didn't like either. Vernon Lee's "Oke of Okehurst" - not kidding, bored to tears by this one - utterly, totally and completely bored to the very last word and the totally mundane ending. It's also very long! Surprisingly bored by Colette's "Rainy Moon" - didn't hate it, just found her style decidedly self-referencing and pompous. I've read plenty of Colette before this one, and I think I've just not got the patience for her. There are many better writers on today's writing scene - maybe it's because she's French, or that it has been translated. Was NOT enarmoured of story, or style. My worst on the list - Ghanaian writer Ama Ata Aidoo's "The Plums" - this story is told from the bitter perspective of a young African girl spending time at a Holiday Camp in Bavaria - she meets a local girl Marija - who is terribly lonely. Her husband is away all day working to pay off the mortgage on their modern home. I disliked the distorted story style of this - the short stanza like poem sections, intermixed with paragraphs, but what I really hated was the Hateful Colonials perspective. Our narrator Sissie understands the reasons behind the White Europeans' expansionist policies throughout the world - it boils down to their L O N E L I N E S S I don't mind the writer drawing this conclusion but, the writer through the character of Sissie - has her own brand of misery to offer. So, is she not simply perpetuating the story she seeks to condemn? For me it was a very miserable read, not thought provoking, not new. As with the other African writer, Bessie Head, it is about the clash of different cultures, different worlds, but this one left me profoundly disheartened. So to sum up - 4 brilliant stories, 4 total bummers, 9 interesting ones - with varying degrees of very good, to middling.

  3. 4 out of 5

    H.A. Leuschel

    Eighteen short stories of varying lengths, each from a different female author, which all have one thing in common : the main character is a woman. An eclectic and entertaining collection of stories!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    An anarchic and eclectic collection featuring con women, witches, precocious children and revolutionaries. What a wonderful idea: to restore rebels and adventuresses as female role models. But the standard of the contributions waver so much, it is difficult to rate them as a collection. Given that they were handpicked by (the brilliant) Angela Carter, I did expect something more. The stories are, at times, disparate, and whilst there are some gems (Carter’s The Loves of Lady Purple, Carrington’s An anarchic and eclectic collection featuring con women, witches, precocious children and revolutionaries. What a wonderful idea: to restore rebels and adventuresses as female role models. But the standard of the contributions waver so much, it is difficult to rate them as a collection. Given that they were handpicked by (the brilliant) Angela Carter, I did expect something more. The stories are, at times, disparate, and whilst there are some gems (Carter’s The Loves of Lady Purple, Carrington’s The Debutante and Colette’s The Rainy Moon), on the whole I was underwhelmed. Wayward Girls and Wicked Women marked my first foray into writers I intend to revisit. This particular collection as a whole? Maybe not. We’ll see.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Anastasiaadamov

    This collection is composed of eighteen different stories from various female authors that come form different cultures and different parts of the world. I was in the middle of reading these stories during the International Women's Day March 8th. It was a great way to celebrate it by reading a book from women about women that talks about different aspects of women. The title suggested the less traditional but much more real women.  The Last Crop by Elizabeth Jolley ★★★★ This first story in the col This collection is composed of eighteen different stories from various female authors that come form different cultures and different parts of the world. I was in the middle of reading these stories during the International Women's Day March 8th. It was a great way to celebrate it by reading a book from women about women that talks about different aspects of women. The title suggested the less traditional but much more real women.  The Last Crop by Elizabeth Jolley ★★★★ This first story in the collection is a very inspiring and quirky just like the mother in this story is. The resourcefulness and and the well meaning caught me by surprise. I like the pace this story has set for the rest of the collection. The Debutante by Leonora Carrington ★★★★★ This story was so short that just as I got into it was over. I liked the idea and how it was written! Loved the fact that the story had a hyena in it! from The Gloria Stories by Rocky Gamez ★★★ This was by far one of the most confusing stories I've read. Gender bender quality of the story aside, what gave me trouble was that I could not place it in any timeline. I needed more cultural pointers to get into the story. I was confused by switching from issues of ignorance and homosexuality. Life by Bessie Head ★★★★★ The main character is a woman named Life. This story hit me hard. Life dies in a very relatable way many women have died trough the ages. A Guatemalan Idyll by Jane Bowels ★★ This story was the longest so far with around 40 pages. It read like a piece for the theater and the characters were one dimensional and oppressive. The Young Girl by Katherine Mansfield ★★★★ The short form of the story alluded to certain motives but they were never fully explored. This story was more like a painting than a narrative and everything it had to say could have been made in to a painting. Three Feminist Fables by Suniti Namjoshi ★★★★★ Three very short texts. So short one can hardly call them stories. So far they reminded me the most of the Angela Carter's other works and I enjoyed them the most as well! The fantastic elements and dry humor translated much more than words can convey. The Rainy Moon by Colette ★★ One of the longest and most tedious stories so far. I just had trouble concentrating. The mentioned background characters were confusing and I struggled between „French realism“ setting and motives of the story. Wedlock by George Egerton ★★★ I had some trouble with reading this story due to the English slang dialogues. The whole story was dripping with melancholy and it affected me more than I liked it to admit. Violet by Frances Towers ★★★★ This story presented how people more often make decisions based on their fear. Rather nice story with a gloomy ending. The Plums by Ama Ata Aidoo ★★★★★ I loved the verse writing style. It was very emotional and very symbolic. Prose was heavy with meaning and some of it scared me. A Woman Young and Old by Grace Paley ★★★★★ I think this story has captured so many aspects of what matriarchy could feel like. The Long Trial by Andree Chedid ★★★ I appreciated the cultural diversity this story brought with it. The religious theme is quite thought provoking and satisfying.  The Loves of Lady Purple by Angela Carter ★★★ Dark and playfully twisted. I like that she used a doll as a story element. The Earth by Djuna Barnes ★★★ I liked the writing style and the motives. The characters were unique and very expressive against their own nature. I was surprised at how some themes transcend well trough time and I can understand them better than I thought I would. Oke of Okehurst by Vernon Lee ★★★★ A very elaborate story with gothic elements. Sort of melancholy and captures the English countryside with „weltshmertz“ theme. Girl by Jamiaca Kincaid ★★★★ I have a thing for these short forms with lots of repetitions and even more hidden meanings. Aunt Liu by Luo Shu ★★★★ I'm ambivalent toward this story. I'm not sure I can digest what it is suggesting. Although i'm sure that a man in the situation of aunt Liu would probably be celebrated hero and a martyr… There were only two stories I did not like. The five of the stories were excellent and I enjoyed them so much. The rest were either good or very good. The general rating of the collection is four stars out of five. These stories were not celebrating women power but were delving into those female traits that are rarely explored by authors and media. Some characters were inspiring and ingenious others were thought provoking and melancholy. I'm very pleased with this book and the stories I've read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Belinda Carvalho

    I shocked myself by not enjoying this collection that much. I'm a die-hard Angela Carter fan and as soon as I heard about this female focused collection selected by her and featuring one of her own stories, I had to get my hands on it. It's not like it's not great, I just didn't get the wow factor from a large number of the stories, found myself skimming through them and didn't engage but having said that there were some gems and I really did love these and will focus on them for my review. The I shocked myself by not enjoying this collection that much. I'm a die-hard Angela Carter fan and as soon as I heard about this female focused collection selected by her and featuring one of her own stories, I had to get my hands on it. It's not like it's not great, I just didn't get the wow factor from a large number of the stories, found myself skimming through them and didn't engage but having said that there were some gems and I really did love these and will focus on them for my review. The loves of Lady Purple by Carter herself, is odd and perfect, the tale of a puppet who comes to life. It's sensual, scary, feminist and trademark Angela Carter. One of my favourite stories, Rainy Moon by Collette is the longest and most stand out, in my opinion. It was great to re-read it in a female focused collection and re-affirmed that I really need to read more Collette! The Djuna Barnes and Leonora Carrington stories did not disappoint. An author I hadn't heard of was Vernon Lee. I loved the ghostly and supernatural Oke of Okehurst. I'd definitely like to read more of her. The other standouts were Elizabeth Jolley's The Last Crop (I think this 'wicked woman' is the standout of the collection!) and Life by Bessie Head, that story was just a universe onto itself in terms of women and culture and just life. So yeah an interesting collection, happy to have discovered some amazing new writers but didn't live up to my expectations all in all.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Emma French

    Excellent collection of stories - goes without saying the Angela Carter one is brilliant, dark and sensual. Some I didn't get on with too much, hence the 4 stars, but overall, very enjoyable wicked women! Excellent collection of stories - goes without saying the Angela Carter one is brilliant, dark and sensual. Some I didn't get on with too much, hence the 4 stars, but overall, very enjoyable wicked women!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sophy H

    Some average and some mediocre stories in here. Not the greatest collection of short stories I've come across. Wouldn't recommend. Some average and some mediocre stories in here. Not the greatest collection of short stories I've come across. Wouldn't recommend.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    Perhaps a complete review some day but in the meantime... The average of the individual story ratings (out to four decimal places): 3.8056 INCLUDES: • "The Last Crop" by Elizabeth Jolley: ★★★½ • "The Débutante" by Leonora Carrington: ★★★★ • from The Gloria Stories by Rocky Gámez: ★★★ • "Life" by Bessie Head: ★★★ • "A Guatemalan Idyll" by Jane Bowles: ★★ • "The Young Girl" by Katherine Mansfield: ★★★ • "Three Feminist Fables" by Suniti Namjoshi: ★★★★ • "The Rainy Moon" by Colette: ★★★★ • "Wedlock" by George Perhaps a complete review some day but in the meantime... The average of the individual story ratings (out to four decimal places): 3.8056 INCLUDES: • "The Last Crop" by Elizabeth Jolley: ★★★½ • "The Débutante" by Leonora Carrington: ★★★★ • from The Gloria Stories by Rocky Gámez: ★★★ • "Life" by Bessie Head: ★★★ • "A Guatemalan Idyll" by Jane Bowles: ★★ • "The Young Girl" by Katherine Mansfield: ★★★ • "Three Feminist Fables" by Suniti Namjoshi: ★★★★ • "The Rainy Moon" by Colette: ★★★★ • "Wedlock" by George Egerton: ★★★ » The cockney makes it a bit tough to follow at points but otherwise good stuff. • "Violet" by Frances Towers: ★★★½ » Twisted and feeling like it may require a re-read at some point. • "The Plums" by Ama Ata Aidoo: ★★★★★ • "A Woman Young and Old" by Grace Paley: ★★★★ • "The Long Trial" by André Chedid: ★★★★ • "The Loves of Lady Purple" by Angela Carter: ★★★★★ » It's like a twisted "Pinnochio" in reverse? (and/or essentially making it a Pygmalion story?) • "The Earth" by Djuna Barnes: ★★★★★ • "Oke of Okehurst" by Vernon Lee: ★★★½ » Surreal and bizarre and great (if a bit long and stylistically rambling). • "Girl" by Jamaica Kincaid: ★★★★★ • "Aunt Liu" by Luo Shu: ★★★★

  10. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Although I really enjoy Angela Carter's own short stories, evidently I'm not as keen on her choice of those of other writers. Perhaps it was the collection of so many female-centred stories in one book, but I did feel that I was being beaten over the head with conspicious feminism a lot of the time, as strings of women were driven to the titular 'wickedness' through the opressive situations in which they found themselves rather than any real fault of their own. The tone of the book seems to ask Although I really enjoy Angela Carter's own short stories, evidently I'm not as keen on her choice of those of other writers. Perhaps it was the collection of so many female-centred stories in one book, but I did feel that I was being beaten over the head with conspicious feminism a lot of the time, as strings of women were driven to the titular 'wickedness' through the opressive situations in which they found themselves rather than any real fault of their own. The tone of the book seems to ask "but what else could they have done?" which, while it's an interesting perspective to read from, did get a little wearing. That complaint aside, there were some stories that I really enjoyed. The folk tale style of the story of Lena and Una, complete with typical folk justice, was particularly good and the haunting story of the Okes of Okehampton reminded me of Daphne du Maurier. All in all, an interesting collection, but not one I think I'm likely to read again.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nibi

    well, that for sure took some time.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lois

    An extremely diverse little collection in all senses. My one quibble is there are too many long short stories which aren't buffeted by shorter ones, which makes the whole collection quite dense. Individual reviews: the last crop 4 the debutante 5 from the Gloria stories 4 Life 4 and a half A Guatemalan idyll 2 the young girl 2 3 feminist fables 5 the rainy moon 4 wedlock 5 violet 2 the plums 5 A woman young and old 5 the long trial 5 the loves of lady purple 5 the earth 5 oke of okehurst 5 girl 4 Aunt Liu 3r An extremely diverse little collection in all senses. My one quibble is there are too many long short stories which aren't buffeted by shorter ones, which makes the whole collection quite dense. Individual reviews: the last crop 4 the debutante 5 from the Gloria stories 4 Life 4 and a half A Guatemalan idyll 2 the young girl 2 3 feminist fables 5 the rainy moon 4 wedlock 5 violet 2 the plums 5 A woman young and old 5 the long trial 5 the loves of lady purple 5 the earth 5 oke of okehurst 5 girl 4 Aunt Liu 3rd

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rachael

    I was excited about this book because I really like Angela Carter but I slogged through this and was actually excited to be finished with it. I did like a couple of stories and appreciated the exposure to these authors

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marta

    A pleasantly varied collection by some remarkable authors, portraying women across centuries, cultures and perspectives. I particularly enjoyed reminiscing about my University modules linked to feminist writing and female representation while reading it. My personal favourites in the collection have been Angela Carter’s “The Loves of Lady Purple”, Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl” and Suniti Namjoshi’s “Three Feminist Fables”.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tom Leland

    The title led me to think these would all be ribald or bawdy tales -- only a couple were. 18 pieces, I like five or six of them -- not a great ratio, but I was knocked out by one of them, "Oke of Okehurst" by Vernon Lee. Also really liked the first Colette I've ever read, "The Rainy Room". The title led me to think these would all be ribald or bawdy tales -- only a couple were. 18 pieces, I like five or six of them -- not a great ratio, but I was knocked out by one of them, "Oke of Okehurst" by Vernon Lee. Also really liked the first Colette I've ever read, "The Rainy Room".

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ela

    ’No tears came to Lena’s help. And had they done so, they would have hissed against the flaming steel of her eyeballs.’ An anthology of short stories edited by Angela Carter with a focus on female "deviancy"? Sign me up. This is a great, varied collection. A few of the stories washed over me but in general I thoroughly enjoyed the variety. Mainly published in the 20th Century, Carter showcases a range of female authors, some famous and some obscure; some English, some international. The stories f ’No tears came to Lena’s help. And had they done so, they would have hissed against the flaming steel of her eyeballs.’ An anthology of short stories edited by Angela Carter with a focus on female "deviancy"? Sign me up. This is a great, varied collection. A few of the stories washed over me but in general I thoroughly enjoyed the variety. Mainly published in the 20th Century, Carter showcases a range of female authors, some famous and some obscure; some English, some international. The stories feature themes of anthropomorphism, love, marriage, the occult, murder, trickery, cruelty and jealousy. There is a range of narrative styles, cultures and protagonists to enjoy here. Sometimes it’s interesting to see the similarities between Carters own work and the stories she has selected, sometimes you just get caught up in something new. Probably my top three were: The Debutante, Life and The Rainy Moon. Although Girl, Oke of Okehurst, Wedlock and A Guatemalan Idyll were also interesting.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Bowers

    Updating as I read each story: 'Life' gets 4 stars. Loved the narrator's voice. I'm with Sianana: I think Lesego planned it all from the beginning. The Gloria Stories' gets 3 stars. It read like the start of a longer story rather than a stand alone short. Interesting characters, but an unsatisfying ending. 'The Last Crop' gets 4 stars: a clever story, believable characters and a strong voice. I liked the daughter's view of her mother and brother, and although I could see the end coming I didn't fee Updating as I read each story: 'Life' gets 4 stars. Loved the narrator's voice. I'm with Sianana: I think Lesego planned it all from the beginning. The Gloria Stories' gets 3 stars. It read like the start of a longer story rather than a stand alone short. Interesting characters, but an unsatisfying ending. 'The Last Crop' gets 4 stars: a clever story, believable characters and a strong voice. I liked the daughter's view of her mother and brother, and although I could see the end coming I didn't feel cheated when it played out as I thought it would. The women were definitely wayward, but I could understand their actions. Makes me wonder about myself ... 'The Debutante' gets 4 stars: a surreal story about the lengths people might go to get out of doing something they really don't want to do. Well-written, non-judgmentally and pragmatically so. TBC ... Gave up a two thirds of the way through. The latter stories just didn't hold my attention. Following the plots felt like too much hard work. Shame. It started off so well.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Saba

    My top three thoughts on 'Book of Wayward Girls & Wicked Women: 1. When I picked this book, I assumed by the misleading title that the author of this book is Angela Carter. It literally took up the entire cover! This is in fact a collection of short stories of 'controversial' women by different authors PICKED by Angela Carter. The stories are from a simpler time when being different was enough to be labeled as wicked. In my opinion, the women featured are less wicked/sinister and more just differ My top three thoughts on 'Book of Wayward Girls & Wicked Women: 1. When I picked this book, I assumed by the misleading title that the author of this book is Angela Carter. It literally took up the entire cover! This is in fact a collection of short stories of 'controversial' women by different authors PICKED by Angela Carter. The stories are from a simpler time when being different was enough to be labeled as wicked. In my opinion, the women featured are less wicked/sinister and more just different and unconventional. I.e. hornier, bolder, smarter, etc. 2. Since there are quite a number of stories with similar themes in the book, I found my mind wandering and at times I was even dozing off mid story (I'm looking at you 'A Guatemalan Idyll'). 3. A few stories that remotely held my interest were: 'The Last Crop', 'The Young Girl', 'Wedlock' and 'The Loves of Lady Purple'. Despite the last one being written by Carter herself, this collection of short stories just didn't work for me. I really struggled to finish the book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Marsha

    Wildly uneven, Wayward Girls and Wicked Women wavers so much in tone that it’s hard to form any coherent opinion of it. The women don’t seem wayward or wicked (for the most part) so much as bordering on hysteria, a term the Greeks used centuries ago when women acted in ways the menfolk didn’t understand. From two old maid sisters reported on in a meandering fashion by a woman trapped in her own past to a modern Medea to a wife and mother making a flailing leap at lesbianism (you’re not sure whet Wildly uneven, Wayward Girls and Wicked Women wavers so much in tone that it’s hard to form any coherent opinion of it. The women don’t seem wayward or wicked (for the most part) so much as bordering on hysteria, a term the Greeks used centuries ago when women acted in ways the menfolk didn’t understand. From two old maid sisters reported on in a meandering fashion by a woman trapped in her own past to a modern Medea to a wife and mother making a flailing leap at lesbianism (you’re not sure whether she’s lonely without her husband or just coming to a realization about her sexuality), the stories have such a stifling air that wading from one to another is like coming out of a marsh to find yourself falling into a swamp. Fairy tales dealing with desperate heroines will give you more in the way of subtext without all this plodding commentary.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lee Kofman

    Most choices in this anthology were great, the stories are rich and fast-paced, full of energy. The contributors are wonderfully diverse geographically and in terms of historical times. There are contributors from China, Egypt, Victorian England and more. Carter’s story wasn’t actually my favorite and although I was very excited to be reading my first story ever by Katherine Mansfield, I found the latter to be tedious and pointless. But I made a few interesting discoveries of new-to-me authors, Most choices in this anthology were great, the stories are rich and fast-paced, full of energy. The contributors are wonderfully diverse geographically and in terms of historical times. There are contributors from China, Egypt, Victorian England and more. Carter’s story wasn’t actually my favorite and although I was very excited to be reading my first story ever by Katherine Mansfield, I found the latter to be tedious and pointless. But I made a few interesting discoveries of new-to-me authors, particularly the South-African writer Bessy Head and the Latino-American writer Rocky Gamez and will be looking for more of their works. Other highlights for me were Colette’s and Grace Paley’s stories (also my first forays into their oeuvres, but at least I’m familiar with these writers). Overall it was an exquisite racy read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    A collection of short stories put together by Angela Carter, in which girls are most definitely not made of sugar and spice and all things nice, and aren't really judged for it either. Whilst I didn't enjoy these as much as I did Carter's own short stories (probably the reason why the only one by her within, The Loves of Lady Purple, was my favourite), these tales written in a variety of ways and from various countries were always told from an interesting perspective and had enough going on that A collection of short stories put together by Angela Carter, in which girls are most definitely not made of sugar and spice and all things nice, and aren't really judged for it either. Whilst I didn't enjoy these as much as I did Carter's own short stories (probably the reason why the only one by her within, The Loves of Lady Purple, was my favourite), these tales written in a variety of ways and from various countries were always told from an interesting perspective and had enough going on that if I didn't enjoy one there was likely to be another coming along that I would. Other highlights included: The Last Crop, Wedlock, Oke of Okehurst, and Girl.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Manda

    Very much enjoyed this collection of stories. Some of the authors represented here I'd read before, but many were new to me and with the exception of one story I'd read before at a workshop, these stories were new to me too. Very much enjoyed this collection of stories. Some of the authors represented here I'd read before, but many were new to me and with the exception of one story I'd read before at a workshop, these stories were new to me too.

  23. 5 out of 5

    ieva

    first stories were quite good, but further i somehow lost interest

  24. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    THE LAST CROP - I enjoyed this one even if it was a little predictable. I think it was a good choice to open the collection with as the characters were clear from their introduction, as was the plot and it was easy to follow. 4/5 THE DEBUTANTE - This was short and not so sweet but it was enjoyable and packed a punch with delivering it’s message. 4/5 THE GLORIA STORIES - This was a little bit weird and a bit wonderful. It was an enjoyable story although I felt the pacing was a little off. The char THE LAST CROP - I enjoyed this one even if it was a little predictable. I think it was a good choice to open the collection with as the characters were clear from their introduction, as was the plot and it was easy to follow. 4/5 THE DEBUTANTE - This was short and not so sweet but it was enjoyable and packed a punch with delivering it’s message. 4/5 THE GLORIA STORIES - This was a little bit weird and a bit wonderful. It was an enjoyable story although I felt the pacing was a little off. The characters are well written though. 3/5 LIFE - I did enjoy this. It took a few pages to get going and the story is definitely one I had read before but it tells it well. It has a simple premise and delivers on that premise effectively with characters that jump of the page. 4/5 THE GUATEMALAN IDEAL - I didn’t enjoy this one that much. If not for the setting I wouldn’t even remember much about it. 1/5 THE YOUNG GIRL - Honestly don.’t remember anything about this particular story. It was swallowed by more enticing stories in the collection. Maybe if I re-read it I would enjoy it more. 1/5 THREE FEMINIST FABLES - This the shortest in the collection I believe but they are refreshing in that regard. It is a nice break from the longer tales and they are nice unique twists on some old tales. I especially like the Bluebeard one. 4/5 THE RAINY MOON - I did enjoy this one. Despite it being quite meandering and the plot wasn’t always clear. It had a lovely writing style that pulled you in and set the tone well. 4/5 WEDLOCK - Meh. I enjoyed it but I don't think it was original enough to stick with me long term. It was well written though and got across it's message effectively. 3/5 VIOLET - I didn't really enjoy this one. I don't think it helped that I had to put the book down in the middle of it but the characters kept getting jumbled together. I constantly had to go back and check which character was which. Now a short story is difficult to get all the characters well defined quickly enough to overcome this but plenty other stories managed it in this collection. 1/5 THE PLUMS - I was pleasantly surprised by this one. It is one of the longer stories and switches between paragraphs and verse. I'm not sure how much this switching added for me but it didn't detract. The characters were extremely well written and the story so simple but effective and impactful. I especially liked its focus on the relationship between Europe and Africa and the negative impacts. 4/5 A WOMAN YOUNG AND OLD - This was short and sweet. It lacked depth at least from my first read. It talks about a 13 year being a "menace" to men and I can see the narrative it was going for. It really spoke about the sexualisation on young girls and the impact it can have on them but I wanted more? I enjoyed it. 4/5 THE LONG TRIAL - This story told of desperation really well. It oozes off of the page from the characters. That is its strongest aspect. It was also however, a bit meh. I read it about 6 hours ago and I had to go back and check which story it was. 3/5 THE LOVES OF LADY PURPLE - I love Angela Carter. There is something about her prose that just captures me and makes me want to keep reading. This one took me a page to get into but after that it sells itself. She weaves a story so well and I genuinely couldn't tell where it was going to end up. Which predictability is a problem I have had a few times while reading this collection. 4/5 THE EARTH - Meh. Honestly I find this one difficult to review because it wasn't "bad" but it just lacked warmth and I wasn't interested in the slightest. 1/5 OKE OF OKEHURST - So this story is probably the longest in the collection? I think that helps it as it allows a good set up and I did really enjoy it. It has a really good atmosphere and pulls a lot of influence from different classics. I also liked the aspect of is there something more going on? Or are they just going crazy? It was executed very well. 4/5 THE GIRL - This story gets its point across but it is so short with no character and plot. It is essentially just a list. So while it is interesting it just isn't my cup of tea. 1/5 AUNT LIU - I think this story shows female resilience very well. It is just snapshot of a woman's life yet it conveys so much about her and what she has been through. Then with the casual way the author writes her response to that. I think it is very believable. Which is to its credit. 3/5 OVERALL - Nothing in this collection was a 5 star read for me. Nothing wowed me and tellingly I wouldn't recommend anyone that they should go right out and buy this. If you like short stories and are looking for something yes read it. If you like Angela Carter and want to read her story sure go for it. I don't think it is essential that everyone picks this up.

  25. 5 out of 5

    John Burgess

    I bought this book in Midhurst in August last year and have been slowly picking my way through the stories ever since. The title appealed to me and so did the fact that the anthology was compiled by Angela Carter, who herself refused to conform to convential ideas of womanhood. Her biographer, Edmund writes of her: "One of the central themes of Carter’s writing is the contingency of personal identity. She believed that our selves are neither false nor true, but merely roles we either master or ar I bought this book in Midhurst in August last year and have been slowly picking my way through the stories ever since. The title appealed to me and so did the fact that the anthology was compiled by Angela Carter, who herself refused to conform to convential ideas of womanhood. Her biographer, Edmund writes of her: "One of the central themes of Carter’s writing is the contingency of personal identity. She believed that our selves are neither false nor true, but merely roles we either master or are mastered by. Her characters wear their personalities like fancy dress costumes. She was explicit about viewing femininity as a “social fiction”, part of a culturally choreographed performance of selfhood." In her introduction to this collection of Wayward Girls and Wicked women, Carter writes about the disparate women portrayed in the stories: "They know they are worth more than fate has allotted them. They are prepared to plot and scheme; to snatch; to battle; to burrow away from within, in order to get their hands on the little bit of extra, be it of love, or money, or vengeance, or pleasure or respect. Even in defeat, they are not defeated" The stories in the collection vary in length, in setting, and in the variety of wayward girls and wicked women portrayed. Well worth a read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Great collection of short stories, very varied, ranging across centuries, cultures and geographies. No-one will like all of them, I suppose, I didn't, but I enjoyed the contrasts. I liked Katherine Mansfield's The Young Girl. Although it's very mannered, it was quite poignant. The brevity of Jamaica Kincaid's Girl was a complete contrast of style but a similar sense of confusion over what to be and how to be it. If you are a short story fan this is an ex excellent collection. If you are not sure Great collection of short stories, very varied, ranging across centuries, cultures and geographies. No-one will like all of them, I suppose, I didn't, but I enjoyed the contrasts. I liked Katherine Mansfield's The Young Girl. Although it's very mannered, it was quite poignant. The brevity of Jamaica Kincaid's Girl was a complete contrast of style but a similar sense of confusion over what to be and how to be it. If you are a short story fan this is an ex excellent collection. If you are not sure about short story collection s then this would be a great place to start

  27. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    There are some really interesting short stories in this mix of genres, authors and writing styles. I particularly liked the ones with Gothic undertones, involving the occult, ghosts and in general madness and mayhem. I am thinking here particularly of "Wedlock", "Rainy Moon", "Violet" and "Oke of Okehurst". This book offers interesting perspectives of 'wicked' women, sometimes as perpetrator, sometimes as witness. There are some really interesting short stories in this mix of genres, authors and writing styles. I particularly liked the ones with Gothic undertones, involving the occult, ghosts and in general madness and mayhem. I am thinking here particularly of "Wedlock", "Rainy Moon", "Violet" and "Oke of Okehurst". This book offers interesting perspectives of 'wicked' women, sometimes as perpetrator, sometimes as witness.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Angela Maher

    This is certainly a collection of rather unusual stories, with some excellent authors represented. It was an interesting read but I found too many of the stories hard to follow, which meant it took a relatively long time for me to finish it. I'd hoped to enjoy it more than I did, but it's always good to delve into something that deviates from the norm. This is a book for when you're in the mood for a bit of a challenge rather than a 'beach read'. This is certainly a collection of rather unusual stories, with some excellent authors represented. It was an interesting read but I found too many of the stories hard to follow, which meant it took a relatively long time for me to finish it. I'd hoped to enjoy it more than I did, but it's always good to delve into something that deviates from the norm. This is a book for when you're in the mood for a bit of a challenge rather than a 'beach read'.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Chloe

    Didn't actually finish it, even though I was determined to because there was always a chance I might have enjoyed one of the stories. I didn't really dislike the ones I read, was more indifferent towards all of them and can't remember what any of them were about. I never really felt the urge to pick it up and read the next story so decided to DNF it. Didn't actually finish it, even though I was determined to because there was always a chance I might have enjoyed one of the stories. I didn't really dislike the ones I read, was more indifferent towards all of them and can't remember what any of them were about. I never really felt the urge to pick it up and read the next story so decided to DNF it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Peach Berry

    Being a fan of Carter’s, I was excited to read some handpicked tales from writers who reflect the anarchic and incredible writing talent of the author. Some were great - particularly Oke of Okehurst which was spellbinding in its own right, whilst none surpassed the dread and beauty of the Lavender Lady in Carter’s own tale including in this collection.

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