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

Monday, June 9, 2014

"The Man Who Loved a Double Bass". Angela Carter's First Short Story. (1962)

The details for Angela Carter Week can be found here, along with lots of good reading suggestions.

Up until today I had read only one work by Angela Carter (1940 to 1992, UK) her very famous and quite wonderful gothic story "The Bloody Chamber".  I was happy to see Beauty is Sleeping Cat and Postcards from Asia were sponsoring a week devoted to her work and very happy I was not long ago given a copy of The Collected Short Stories of Angela Carter.  Salmon Rushdie has written a very well done introduction that should be read by anyone into Carter.  Rushdie loves her work and offers some very good reading suggestions for Carter neophytes like myself.   I decided just to begin with her very first published short story "The Man Who Loved a Double Bass", from 1962.

The story centers on a bass player and his instrument.  He calls her "Lola", he admires her shape, almost as if the large string instrument were a voluptuous woman.  He takes Lola everywhere.  When at a pub people are used to seeing Lola at the table with the bass player and his mates.  Someone always buys Lola a drink and it is left untouched when they leave.  The player had a beautiful silk cloth he polishes her with, almost as one would a beloved.  Everyone respects the way Lola has become animate and accepts the bond some would find a bit unnatural, nearly sexual between the bass player and Lola. I do not wish to give away the close but this is Angela Carter's first story and the ending is dark, cruel, and heartbreaking.  This is a powerful tale of obsession, maybe of madness.  I will try to read more Carter Stories this week, focusing on the one's mentioned by Rushdie as her strongest work.

My thanks to Dalia and Caroline for hosting this event.


Brona said...

Well done for going back to the very beginning.
I think dark and disturbing could be used for many of Carter's stories. I think I will see if this one is in my short story collection too...

Brona said...

PS Can you post a list of the other titles recommended by Rushdie?

Delia (Postcards from Asia) said...

What a great review, I hadn't heard about this one. It definitely goes to my TBR list.

Caroline said...

This sounds excellent. I haven't read it.
Lucky you, to have an intro by Rushdie.
Btw - I added your post to our Mr Linky.

Mel u said...

Brona Joy-

Here are Rushdie's favorites

1. Courtship of Mr Lyon
2. The Werewolf
3. The Story of Momotaro
4. Black Venus
5. The Snow Child
6. "The Fall River Murders"
7. Wolf Alice
8. Peter and the Wolf
9. the Bloody Chamber- he considers this her best

Violet said...

Black Venus is my favourite Carter story, but I'll read anything she has written. I've started reading some of her non-fiction writing, which is every bit as wonderful as her fiction. I think The Bloody Chamber is her best collection of stories. I read it at university and it seems to be a favourite of of many academics who teach literature.

Anonymous said...

I recently finished The Bloody Chamber and enjoyed it. I'll have to look for the collection you mentioned.