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The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington Paperback – April 28, 2017
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"In both her prose and her visual art, Carrington dissolves the borders between human and inhuman, fantasy and reality, death and life. In The Complete Stories we meet a mad queen who uses squirming live sponges to wash herself; a corpse that casts a circle of light in the forest; and a horse-woman who lives among plants and animals because humans won't accept her hybrid state. Whenever Carrington's heroines are forced to pledge allegiance, they always choose the company of beasts."—Joy Press, Los Angeles Times, "Leonora Carrington, the surrealist storytelling genius you've never heard of"
"This definitive collection of Carrington's short fiction is a treasure and a gift to the world. A stunning achievement."—Jeff VanderMeer
"Leonora Carrington has unswervingly followed the intensity of her own particular vision and way of being...Her work bristles with a fierce, unconventional brand of feminism; anger gives it its final edge of irony and power."—Angela Carter
"Her delirious fantasy reveals to us a little of the secret magic of her paintings."—Luis Buñuel
"The writing is as neat, dry and witty as the content is wild, woolly and portentous."—TLS
"Kathryn Davis's wonderful introduction to this complete collection (published in conjunction with the centennial of Carrington's birth) is a satisfying piece on its own, delightedly preparing the reader for a writer bestowed with a satisfying mix of the most wicked yet tender of visions."—Entropy
"Carrington's stories are optimistic and nihilistic, beautiful and grotesque, tender and cruel. She never contented herself with something simple or trite, a philosophy of life that can be shortened and simplified and put in a fortune cookie."—Sheila Heti
"Her protagonists speak to gods, monsters, parents, and strangers in the same fearlessly ironic voice. Irrational or horrible things happen to people in these stories just as they do in fairy tales, dreams, the Bible, and real life. Intending to destroy dualistic viewpoints, Carrington offers no glib moral judgments."—The Village Voice
"Her stories are vivid, funny and surprisingly fresh...[combining] satire with surrealist situations to deftly mock the pomposity of organized religion, sexual repression or the endless forms of bureaucratic hypocrisy and ineptitude."—The New York Times
"Complete Stories, a collection of Carrington's published and unpublished short stories—many newly translated from their original French and Spanish—is a terrific introduction to her bizarre, dreamlike worlds."—NPR
About the Author
Leonora Carrington (1917-2011) was a key figure in the Surrealist movement and an artist of remarkable individuality. She was born to a wealthy English family in 1917, expelled from two convents as a girl, and presented to the king's court in 1933. Four years later, she ran off with Max Ernst and became a darling of the art world in Paris: serving guests hair omelets at one party, arriving naked to another. After Ernst was taken from their home to a Nazi internment camp in 1940, Carrington fled France. Nearly mad with grief and terror, she was thrown into a lunatic asylum in Spain, and, after escaping, married a Mexican diplomat, fleeing Europe for New York City then Mexico City, where she lived for the rest of her life. Throughout her long career, Carrington published novels, stories, and plays, in addition to making paintings, sculptures, and tapestries.
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As best I could, I hunted more Carrington stories. I read them standing up in libraries. The volumes that contained them were out of print and costly. The Dorothy Project has already published a remarkable series of books, but this book is their most gorgeous contribution yet. These stories are indelible, unforgettable. They’re nasty in the very best way.
As an aspirant in the field of stories, I wanted to imitate these stories as soon as I read them, but I also felt discouraged -- because Leonora Carrington is one of those people -- like Jane Bowles, like Clarice Lispector -- who started right off as a genius. There is a unity between the stories written in the Thirties and those written in the Seventies. Although I love the latter ones, it seems the ones from the Thirties and Forties are the best.The later stories seem composed; you can pick out themes and metaphors. The early stories have a supranormal authority, bloody and beyond the human, like scripture.
My favorite story, “The Seventh Horse”, might also serve as commentary on Carrington’s career: 2 truly dreadful society ladies discover in the garden: “a strange-looking creature was hopping about in the midst of a bramble bush. She was caught by her long hair, which was so closely entwined in the brambles that she could move neither backwards nor forwards. She was cursing and hopping till the blood flowed down her body”. One rich lady says, “I do not like the look of it”; the other says “I strongly object to trespassers.”
To which the enraged and entangled creature shrieks, “I’ve been here for years! But you are too stupid to have seen me.”