Book Review: The Passion of New Eve by Angela Carter

The Passion of New Eve (Virago Modern Classics) - Angela Carter

The Basics


America is falling apart at the seams, and amidst this is Evelyn, flown in from the UK and trying to make a go of it. He ends up in a whirlwind of drama, confronted by several extremists and psychopaths. He also ends up being made into a woman.


My Thoughts


There’s almost too much to say about this book. It’s one of the craziest things I’ve ever read, and I pride myself on reading a lot of crazy fiction. The plot is full of so many fresh turns, it was impossible to stop reading for wanting to see the next, insane thing Carter was going to do with Eve. Or to Eve, in some cases.


It’s very strongly feminist, and while I’ve seen it said that some readers were offended that she takes a character and forces a sex change on them, Carter never acts as if this was a good thing for Evelyn or the right thing to do. More I felt she used the idea of a man becoming a woman against his will to showcase a male character facing what a victimized woman would be forced to face, turning the tables on what we so often see in fiction. I don’t believe she was trying to say that anyone should ever have a sex change forced on them. To me, this book was full of militant viewpoints wherein Evelyn/Eve was a victim to these larger schemes, and no one is painted as being right.


More than all this, I feel like this is a fantastic book about gender. Not just feminism, but all gender. Gender confusion and what it’s like to feel strange in your own body and ambiguity and androgyny and breaking out of the gender box. It’s a very complex character study, which becomes a very complex gender study.


And all of it in this gorgeous package, because it’s written exquisitely. I kept sinking into her words and not wanting to come back out. Carter was a real master of prose. So it’s a gorgeous book with a fantastic plot and a lot of depth. Everyone should read this.


Final Rating