Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Thursday, November 28, 2013

"Master" by Angela Carter 1995

                1940 to 1992. UK

I am very glad to have at last read a story by the great English author, Angela Carter.  I have access to one more of her stories and hopefully will read it soon.  

"Master" is a multidimensional work with many thematic veins one could mine.  

There are only two on stage characters in "Master".  One is a totally horrible man who loves hunting, not for the sport allegedly involved but for the sheer love of killing, of inflicting murder, not for trophies or for food.  We learn little of his history.  When we meet him he is in Africa.  He kills any animal he can, leaving their bodies to decay.  His passion is for killing big cats. He purchases a young girl, begins to serially rape her and he insists she call him "Master".  His pleasure in having sex with her derives from the pain it causes her.  The story is told  as a dark fable.  I see the master as a symbol for colonial exploitation and accept this is tied in with a love, often buried very deeply, for killing, a hatred of beauty and serenity.   The story also deals with received images of masculinity and feminity.   There is a very interesting turn in this story I will leave untold. 

I read this in an excellent anthology of stories by  women writers that I have been slowly working my way through The Story:  Love, Loss, and the Lives of Women -One Hundred Short Stories edited by Victoria Hislop.

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