“The Bloody Chamber,” by Angela Carter

Fiction, 1979 Series of short stories in which erotic subjects and themes are woven in and bring new perspectives to old fairy tales. The appeal of the project may also put some readers off – while there’s much to admire in the narration and gender power shifts, the use of the fairy tale form can lead to the text feeling quite slow and almost over-balanced … Continue reading “The Bloody Chamber,” by Angela Carter

“Trafalgar”, by Angélica Gorodischer

Fiction, 1979 Tales of the mythic-like character Trafalgar, who recalls travels in time and space, in different planets and situations. Interesting, quirky and something which works well, even if the narrative third-party retelling can feel as samey as Trafalgar’s addiction to thick black coffee and thick black cigarettes. Some of the stories are better than others, inevitably, though by the end, there’s a nice pace … Continue reading “Trafalgar”, by Angélica Gorodischer

"The Man Who Ate the World", by Frederik Pohl

Fiction, 1979 Science-fiction stories from the late 1950s. A curious blend of humour, sharp writing, good ideas and impenetrable stodge. Which means that some stories are light, others lose their thread somewhat; in The Waging of Peace, for example, there’s some smart satire on the consumer economy, snuffed and stuffed with some period representation of women, then a boys’ own battle, both of which get … Continue reading "The Man Who Ate the World", by Frederik Pohl

“The Cat and the Canary”, directed by Radley Metzger

Movie, 1979 An odd, groaning, wooden grotesque film, masking elements of horror and mystery into an old fashioned house on a stormy night. The film would entirely crumble under the weight of its own cliches, were it not that there are conspicuously so many of them. Then there are the narrative switches and entirely predictable twists and a cast which stumbles, camp and embarrassed to … Continue reading “The Cat and the Canary”, directed by Radley Metzger

“The White Album”, by Joan Didion

Non-fiction, 1979 Essays on a wide range of subjects, using the 1960s almost as a ‘jumping off’ point and usually instilling then with domestic and personal investment. There’s no particular world view or attitude advanced in these pieces otherwise, but the collection feels like a series of snapshots, recording the time, but now standing as a different thing entirely; a document of where power, politics, … Continue reading “The White Album”, by Joan Didion

"Kindred," by Octavia E Butler

Novel, 1979 A novel following two present day (1979) characters, one of whom is summoned back in time to help an ancestor in peril. A book with an absolutely cracking beginning, which isn’t quite sustained, but serves as a great platform for exploring questions of identity, gender and family through contrasting modern times and attitudes to those of America in the time of slavery. The … Continue reading "Kindred," by Octavia E Butler

"Woyzeck," directed Werner Herzog

Movie, 1979 Intense portrait looking at the disastrous effects of the military and psychological manipulation on a less than stable subject. The Herzog-Kinski combination brings in bucket loads of atmosphere and dread into a combat situation with no fighting, other than the destructive relationships raging through and around the main character. Beautifully shot and with a number of meditative scenes in among the high drama, … Continue reading "Woyzeck," directed Werner Herzog