Thursday, March 8, 2007

Book Savvy. 2nd ed. Thanks for Your Help!

Betty's List Book Club Members:
When Book Savvy goes into its second edition, I hope to have an additional 44 entries to add to the 88 already in print. Your book selections are an inspiration to me! After the spirited discussion in the Byatt group last week, I've decided to include Byatt's Little Black Book of Stories in Book Savvy

Here's a pre-press look at the new entry. Unfortunately, the blog erases all the formatting and icons (my favorite part), but still, here it is:

Title: Little Black Book of Stories
Author: A. S. Byatt
Genre: Short Stories Number of Pages: 240 Date: 2003
Level of Challenge: 5

This contemporary book of “fairy tales” is as dark a batch of reading as one is likely to find this side of the Brother’s Grimm and Faulkner. There are five stories in the anthology, probing the depths of the holocaust, the medical world, lapidary fantasy, creative writing, and madness. It is a tour d’ force of metaphor, archetype and unbelievably compelling language.

“They watched each other warily, offering bland snippets of
autobiography in politely hushed voices….Circling like beaters,
they approached the covert thing in the forest.” Pg. 23.

“He was overcome with dreadful love and grief. She was a person.
She had not been there, and now she was there, and she was
the person he loved.” Pg. 105.

“Her metamorphosis obeyed no known law of physics or chemistry:
ultramafic black rocks and ghostly Iceland spar formed in
succession, and clung together.” Pg. 122.

“Every year they wrote melodrama. They clearly needed to write
melodrama. He had given up telling them that Creative
Writing was not a form of psychotherapy.” Pg. 159.

Reading Hints:
In an anthology of short stories, all by the same author, it is interesting to look for threads and themes that may unify what otherwise looks like a random selection of unrelated tales. Readers may want to explore the ways in which these five, seemingly different stories, are actually quite a bit alike, not just in presentation, but in content and theme.

Others by Byatt: Possession: A Romance (novel), Angels and Insects (novel), and The Matisse Stories (short stories).

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