Black Venus; Angela Carter

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Extraordinary and diverse people inhabit this rich, ripe, occasionally raucous collection of short stories. Some are based on real people, Jeanne Duval, Baudelaire's sexy, reluctant muse, and Edgar Allen Poe demonstrating in thought and deed how 'No man is safe who drinks before breakfast.' Some are imaginary: the girl suckled by wolves who will not tolerate returning to humanity. Mingling history, invention, literary criticism, high drama and low comedy, Carter's stories are as full of contradictions and surprises as life itself.

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