The Passion of New Eve by Angela Carter

1977 Club
I’m participating in The 1977 Club this week which is hosted by Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings and Simon at Stuck in a Book. I’m also reading The Honourable Schoolboy by John le Carre, but I still have 100 or so pages of that one to read.

The Passion of New Eve cover

The Passion of New Eve by Angela Carter was first published in 1977, which is why I read it. It really isn’t my sort of book. It’s well enough written but is extremely weird and I suppose when it was written it was hailed as some sort of feminist wonder read. Each to their own. I suspect the author had recently visited the US and she just let her imagination run wild into a future it could be heading for.

Evelyn (a man) lives in London but by chapter two he has travelled to New York, a place that all of his American friends had warned him about. It’s a lot worse than he could have imagined though as society has completely broken down and it’s mayhem, it’s a bit of a civil war situation and everyone’s out for themselves. After some adventures Evelyn decides it might be safer outside the city, but that’s when all his troubles really begin.

After getting lost in the desert he’s kidnapped by a young woman, taken back to an underground society of women headed by a large multi-breasted fertility goddess who performs a sex change on him – hey presto, now Evelyn is Eve.

After escaping from there he/she ends up at the home of Zero who’s a one-legged, one-eyed pirate type who has seven young female followers, they’re all supposed to be his wives and he decides that Eve will be his eighth, she has no say in the matter. This part seems a bit Manson family-ish and that had certainly been in the news not long previously. Bizarrely Zero blames an old movie actress called Tristessa for his infertility and he thinks she lives somewhere in the desert. He uses his helicopter to track her down and things get even weirder. Eventually Eve ends up in the hands of a heavily armed army of right-wing supposedly Christian schoolboys and paedophilia is added to the mix.

There’s a lot more of course but I’ve already written more than I usually do about the storyline of a book. In this book gender is flexible and I suppose in its day that was a strange thought, but now it seems that it’s quite common for people to choose which gender they want to be. I’m just not that interested as I think of people as people not a sex.

So this was a weird read by an author who nicked ideas from various places, it might have shocked readers back in the day but as often happens with science- fiction some things have just about caught up with it.

This is the first book by Angela Carter that I’ve read but I have a few more in the house so I’ll eventually give her another go – sometime.

Thanks Kaggsy and Simon for setting this up.

Long weekend and books

This weekend was a long one in this part of Scotland, for schools anyway, and there are just four weeks left of this term and then it’s the summer holidays.

I made the mistake of walking into town on Friday and I couldn’t manage to get past the Salvation Army shop without going in to scrutinise their bookshelves. The result of that was that I ended up with three more books added to my TBR pile. I only chose two to begin with but when I took them to the counter the chap there said It’s three for £1 so I just had to go and find another one. The chap obviously thought he was helping me but I think he is what is nowadays called an addiction enabler.

The books are:

Stormy Petrel by Mary Stewart, it was first published in 1991 but this is a brand new Hodder and Stoughton and I know that I haven’t read this one yet.

Doorways in Drumorty by Lorna Moon which is a collection of short stories which are set in the author’s home village of Strichen in Aberdeenshire at the turn of the century. It’s a reprint and the book was first published in 1926. It looks unread but spookily when I got it home I noticed that a man had written his name on the inside cover and it was the same name as my late father-in-law, and his name wasn’t a common one.

The third one which I had my arm twisted to choose is The Passion of New Eve by Angela Carter. I haven’t read anything by her yet and frankly it sounds a wee bit weird but it’s a Virago and I usually really like them so I’m ever hopeful. Again the book looks unread but then all of my books are still in pristine condition after I’ve finished with them too, even the paperbacks.

So Friday was bad enough book purchase-wise but on Saturday we went to Abernyte which is an antique centre near Dundee, not with the intention of buying things, more with a view to get rid of some of what will be excess furniture when we downsize. But of course there are a couple of booksellers there and I just couldn’t resist the temptation to scan their shelves, the result of which is that I found an old Angela Thirkell hardback, The Duke’s Daughter. I’m really chuffed with that one because I have just started Peace Breaks Out by the same author and I didn’t have any others by her after that. It’s nice to have one waiting to be read as I count them as comfort books.

Back to the decorating tomorrow. What an exciting life I lead!