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By Linden Peach (auth.)

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Both these texts are set mainly abroad, the former in South America and the latter in the USA. Hoffrnan's purpose is the sameasthat which Carter, in 'A Souvenir of Japan', believed informed Japanese rituals, the transmutation of 'life itself to a series of grand gestures' (Burning Your Boats, p. 33). Hoffman's means of achieving this is provided by the mass media, anticipating Carter's concern with American culture, and the grand illusions spun by Hollywood, in The Passion of New Eve and Wise Children especially.

11). The last three stories in the book are wolf family stories, concemed with a more unruly, animalistic sexuality. Critics have argued over how to read these stories. Makinen suggests that the beasts be seen as the 'projections of a feminine libido' and challenges critics, such as Patricia Duncker, who see the beasts as men. I would suggest that the stories invite a number of different and, even competing, readings, as does most of Carter 's fiction. The stories are a development from Shadow Dance in that they arenot only an exploration of women's sexuality but of the ways in which men have sought to control that sexuality, of how both men and women need to reconfigure their sexualities, and of the commodification of women as 'flesh'.

But, at another level, Shadow Dance, refers the reader to Psalm 23 where we are said to 'walk through the valley of the shadow of death'. This is certainly appropriate to both Morris and his friend, Honeybuzzard, who specialise in stealing Victoriana from derelict houses which they subsequently sell in their junk shop. This line of work only serves to feed Morris's dark, brooding personality: Beds with the shallow depressions in them that men and women, like rivers, mould out for themselves over the years.

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