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The Passion of New Eve (Virago Modern Classics) Paperback – August 1, 1992


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Product Details

  • Series: Virago Modern Classics (Book 407)
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group (August 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0860683419
  • ISBN-13: 978-0860683414
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #520,130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'If you can imagine Baudelaire, Blake and Kafka getting together to describe America, you are well on the way to Carter's visionary and lurid world' THE TIMES 'Her writing is pyrotechnic' OBSERVER

About the Author

One of Britain's most original writers, Angela Carter was highly lauded for her novels, short stories, and journalism. She died in February 1992.

Customer Reviews

Difficult to read at times.
Kate B.
It is written in a richly poetic prose that was very captivating in itself.
Alfredo Torres
You can't call it a feminist piece, nor can you call it satire.
Kai

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
In this, one of Carter's boldest and most subversive novels, the protagonist undergoes an excrutiating exercise in de-masculinization. As a female, he realizes that women truly are "made" into nurturers, into mothers, into objects of sexual desire. Carter's prose is richly--chillingly--beautiful, as she describes one man's confusing transformation from being the "hunter" into the "hunted." Quite possibly Angela Carter's finest work--as well as one of the most provocative studies of gender construction in the Western world.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By benshlomo on February 22, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Everyone knows what the word "passion" means in ordinary usage; it's a strong feeling, often of sexual desire, and generally considered to be the opposite of reason. It means something quite different in religious terms, though. The word comes from a Latin root that means "suffering" and originally referred to the suffering of Jesus on the cross. Later, it came to mean the suffering that would lead a person to sainthood, the sensation of leaving one's body and joining with God for a time. You can see the resemblance to eroticism there. Angela Carter certainly did; the protagonist of "The Passion of New Eve" goes through both suffering and ecstasy at various junctures.

And yes, that means a certain amount of bloody sexual violence, although it stops well short of pornography. This novel isn't about sex and violence anyway; it's mostly about sin, forgiveness, self-image, and the possibility of happiness once you've learned acceptance. All for under 200 pages.

You might call "Passion" a work of science fiction, since it takes place in some not-too-distant future, but then you might as well call it a Western because most of it takes place in the southwestern desert of the United States. A young professor named Evelyn (which is a man's first name in England when pronounced EVE-linn) comes to New York for a college job, only to find that black revolutionaries are about to burn the college to the ground. These same revolutionaries then build a wall around Harlem while feminist revolutionaries take random potshots at miscellaneous men. Good times.

Evelyn begins an affair with an underage black exotic dancer, whom he abandons when she gets pregnant.
Read more ›
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Lauryn Angel VINE VOICE on July 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is the most outrageous Angela Carter novel I've read. Just when you begin to settle into one bizarre plot, Carter turns everything upside down and takes the story down a completely different avenue. She still manages, however, to bring all of her seemingly disparate plot elements together at the novel's satisfying close.
Evelyn's transformation from loathesome creep into a protagonist the reader actually cares about is a riotous roller-coaster ride, punctuated by Carter's beautiful prose and embellished by her perverse sense of humor. As always with Angela Carter, a satisfying, thought-provoking read!
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Kai on May 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
My only previous exposure to Carter's work has been through her short-story collection, "The Bloody Chamber". I'd highly recommend that over this; while TBC included some stories that were hard to grasp, it also contained many witty, dark, brilliant stories that blew the classic versions out of the water.

"The Passion of New Eve" is interesting, but all I could conclude at the end was that Carter was trying very hard not to get pigeonholed into any category of writing. You can't call it a feminist piece, nor can you call it satire. Evelyn, a man who gets surgically transformed into Eve (and if transition was as easy as the sci-fi operation makes it, there would be many elated trans persons in the world) isn't a pleasant protagonist; he's at first arrogant and self-serving, then whiny, then self-serving yet again. Tristessa, his love interest, is a more fascinating character, but plays a relatively minor part. There's also plenty of rape and, for lack of more eloquent terms, nastiness that goes on before the end; I wouldn't call this light reading by any stretch of the imagination.

The writing itself is stunning, though; Carter's use of imagery and verbal texture is fantastic, and her way with detail (choosing where to include it and where to omit it, in particular) is superb.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By peter d pipinis on May 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
Angela Carter makes few concessions to the ordinary reader. She is abstruse, wilful, demanding, her vocabulary is immense, her intelligence daunting. She dares to make her characters one-dimensional (though colourful and believable), her story as unlikely and fantastic as possible.

The Passion Of New Eve is set in a vividly visualised, but almost unreal U.S.A. that is rapidly disintegrating into all-out civil war. 'Bizarre' might, perhaps, be an understatement when considering the plot. Amongst other things, Evelyn, a young, 'straight' young Englishman, is forced to undergo a sex-change operation that transforms him ('a change in the appearance will restructure the essence') into a perfect woman.

'Eve' is then - after an attempted escape - taken prisoner by Zero - a barbaric, one-eyed, one-legged man, and his personal harem of several 'wives', who worship him the more unquestioningly and eagerly, the more thoroughly he degrades them.

Following this, Eve - having found her true love - enjoys a sexual interlude in the desert that completes her realisation of herself as a fulfilled man-loving woman.

The best part of the novel is the beautiful ending. Here the author uses surrealistic imagery superbly in order to explore themes of time, re-birth and the inexorable power of nature. It is intensely affecting.

The whole book is held together by Carter's boldness and dazzling style. She is dreaming frightening and blackly resonant dreams, and by her artistry makes them plausible. A pity, then, that her uncompromising literary brilliance will alienate and bore those most in need of her provoking vision.
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More About the Author

Angela Carter (1940-1992) was the author of many novels, collections of short stories, plays, and books for children.

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