Skip Navigation

Submitted Literature

Love (1987 Revised Edition)

By Angela Carter

Review

Carter’s ‘social realist’ novel examines the complex, intertwined relationship between Lee and Buzz, who lose their mother through mental illness at a young age, and the ethereal and unstable Annabel who enters their lives and inadvertently wreaks destruction through her fragile beauty.

Key Themes:

  • Isolation
  • Psychosis
  • Revealing Reads
  • Self-Injury

Significant Quotes / Pages

45 – “It was practical help rather than comfort she wanted.  Because she went stealing with Buzz and they shared the secret of the ring, she did not regard Buzz as too much separate from herself but it was Lee she loved and Lee she now intended to wound.

She went immediately to the bathroom to kill herself in private.  Fortunately in was unoccupied.  After she locked the door, she remembered she should have borrowed on of Buzz’s knives and stabbed herself through the heart.  She was irritated to realize she would have to make do with an undignified razor blade but quickly cut open both her wrists with two clean, sweeping blows and sat down on the floor, waiting to bleed to death.  She had always bled very easily.  She guessed, however, it would take some time to bleed to death.  Her wrists ached but she was as content as if she had won another game of chess by unorthodox means.”

60 – “ ‘Perhaps Annabel should get a job and  try to make friends of her own outside the environment imposed on her by yourself and your brother.’

‘What’s that again?’ gasped Lee, stunned; he had been anticipating something portentous.

She said: ‘I don’t think your brother is a suitable person to live in the same house as such an unbalanced girl as Annabel.   Indeed, it is probably very bad for them both.’

‘Dear God, do I have to chose between them?’

‘There is a condition of shared or, rather, mutually stimulated psychotic disorder known as “folie a deux”.  Your brother and your wife would appear excellent candidates for it.  Will you please stop crying.  You are beginning to embarrass me.’”

64 – “Now Lee they would not let Annabel come home until his brother was expelled from the household, he watched Buzz as if he had never know him.  He watched the variously obsessed figure intently.  It continued to go busily about the absurd tasks it set itself as if they were perfectly normal.  It sharpened its knives; it splashed in its acids; it snipped, stitched and dyed its commedia dell’arte rags; it rolled its joints with a pompous ritual worthy of a sacrament; it squatted for hours on the floor in those hollow, interminable silences with which it passed its excess wastes of useless time, and Lee saw all this as the motions of an unfamiliar object.  He marvelled that he could have endured its aberrations so long and began to harden against the thing he saw.”

Reference: Angela, Carter. 1971. Love (1987 Revised Edition). London: Vintage, 1997

Reviewer

- Charley Baker
Date Review Submitted: Friday 20th March 2009