A Review of Angela Carter’s “The Company of Wolves”

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Pretentious, needlessly wordy and lacking a proper ending. The pretentiousness comes from the pervading “in your face” symbolism that fails to be subtle but also distinctly fails to make a point – the author is essentially making references to random dark things just to make it edgy as she could. 

It’s needlessly wordy. Most of the things that could be described in a sentence or two take entire paragraphs, it’s like the author is too busy playing word games rather than adding a semblance of plausibility to the plot. By plausibility, I don’t mean realism, the setting is as bland as it could be, children carrying knives half their size, really? The author may try to distract the reader by some comment about werewolf penises but I would hardly consider that to be proper world building, rather than the author resorting to storytelling when clearly she should have turned to the essay form and written a (hopefully) straight forward essay about her real topic of interest. A few exotic words were used in the exposition but jargon is the worst enemy of world building, thankfully this was not overdone.

It hasn’t got a proper ending and the reason it’s left out is probably because it would be like reading cheap pornography, which it was for little that was said, but also because it is predictable and so, anti-climactic. A distinct lack of a point and a weak ending are two hallmarks of bad short stories. A problem that the audiences to these stories overcome by retrospectively extrapolating whatever random thought that is going through their heads at that moment resulting in tirades of pretentious over thinking completely disconnected and irrelevant to the story. I know the responses to the story are not the story’s fault and in a way this means I am also talking around the story rather than about it, the problem is, that there is more to say about the audience rather than the story.

It’s not even scary, it’s just gross. And when you remove the grossness and the purple passages, all that’s left is some story that could have been written by an edgy 13 year old girl as many such stories published on wattpad are and frankly most of them are much more straightforward about what they are.

If there is one good thing I have got to say is that the first few opening passages of exposition created a very good atmosphere which if handled properly would not give the whole thing away but the author forgot to stop the exposition and get on with the plot – simultaneously robbing the story of any ability to surprise as the author endlessly, unsuccessfully resorts to shock factor and bogging down the pacing (which is not an easy thing to do in a short story).