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Aphrodite's Hat
 
 

Aphrodite's Hat [Kindle Edition]

Salley Vickers
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Review

‘Aphrodite’s Hat is an assured debut, confidently ranging across moods and voices, and deftly pinpointing the moments when her characters most truly reveal themselves. Vickers [puts] love and art into the form.’ Observer

‘Sparkles with dry wit and shrewd insights … terrific’ Mail on Sunday

‘A box of delights … the emotional and technical range of this collection is both impressive and delightfully disorienting … Frank O’Connor famously said that is was possible for a bad writer to write a good novel, but only a really good writer could write a decent short story. Vickers’s first collection proves beyond doubt that she’s a really good writer.’ Frank Cottrell Boyce, Guardian

‘A deceptively wild, seamlessly well-crafted collection’ The Times

‘Beautifully simple with a devastating emotional climax … with the collection, Vickers proves herself a formidable and astute chronicler of the psychology of love’ Sunday Times

Praise for Salley Vickers:

‘Salley Vickers is a writer whose subtle intelligence and unobtrusive command of narrative I always enjoy. She sees with a clear eye and writes with a light hand, and she knows how the world works; and these qualities are much rarer than they should be. She's a presence worth cherishing in the ranks of modern novelists.’ Philip Pullman

'If you enjoy the work of Marilynne Robinson, Penelope Fitzgerald, James Salter or Anita Brookner, you should be reading Vickers. All these authors reflect, with grace and gravity, on life's moments of sorrowful epiphany.' Michael Dirda, Washington Post

‘There is something rare and special about Vickers as a novelist. In exploring the connections between faith and imagination, art and redemption, religion and science in an intelligent, unusual but very readable way, she manages to touch something buried deep in all of us. It gives her work a quietly compelling quality.’ Peter Stanford, Independent

Review

'Aphrodite's Hat is an assured debut, confidently ranging across moods and voices, and deftly pinpointing the moments when her characters most truly reveal themselves. Vickers [puts] love and art into the form.' Observer 'Sparkles with dry wit and shrewd insights ! terrific' Mail on Sunday 'A box of delights ! the emotional and technical range of this collection is both impressive and delightfully disorienting ! Frank O'Connor famously said that is was possible for a bad writer to write a good novel, but only a really good writer could write a decent short story. Vickers's first collection proves beyond doubt that she's a really good writer.' Frank Cottrell Boyce, Guardian 'A deceptively wild, seamlessly well-crafted collection' The Times 'Beautifully simple with a devastating emotional climax ! with the collection, Vickers proves herself a formidable and astute chronicler of the psychology of love' Sunday Times Praise for Salley Vickers: 'Salley Vickers is a writer whose subtle intelligence and unobtrusive command of narrative I always enjoy. She sees with a clear eye and writes with a light hand, and she knows how the world works; and these qualities are much rarer than they should be. She's a presence worth cherishing in the ranks of modern novelists.' Philip Pullman 'If you enjoy the work of Marilynne Robinson, Penelope Fitzgerald, James Salter or Anita Brookner, you should be reading Vickers. All these authors reflect, with grace and gravity, on life's moments of sorrowful epiphany.' Michael Dirda, Washington Post 'There is something rare and special about Vickers as a novelist. In exploring the connections between faith and imagination, art and redemption, religion and science in an intelligent, unusual but very readable way, she manages to touch something buried deep in all of us. It gives her work a quietly compelling quality.' Peter Stanford, Independent

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 247 KB
  • Print Length: 277 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0007371063
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (28 Oct 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004CCRYHO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #131,961 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Salley Vickers' subtle, witty style and clear-eyed observation of human nature has been compared to Penelope Fitzgerald and Barbara Pym. She has worked as a university teacher of literature, specialising in Shakespeare, and in adult education, where she specialised in the literature of the ancient world. She is a trained analytical psychologist and lectures widely on the connections between literature, psychology and religion. She divides her time between London, Venice and the West Country.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical and Mysterious 12 Nov 2010
Format:Hardcover
Salley Vickers' well-known light touch and shrewd psychological analysis is brilliantly displayed in this collection of stories exploring the theme of love. The theme is captivatingly portrayed in the title story, whose subject, Aphrodite naked but for a wonderful hat in a painting by Cranach, suggestively adorns the cover. The stories are clever, poignant, wise and often disconcerting and strange. Few are about resolved love, many about the gaps, tragedies and pot holes of love. There are several slightly ghostly stories (I especially liked the one about the poet John Keats) and some very funny ones too (Mrs Radinsky about a medium and The Deal about a precocious six-year old getting the better of her parents). But my favourite was The Indian Child where a 'loquacious' Shakespeare meets and talks with his own creations. For those who loved Miss Garnet's Angel this is vintage Vickers beautifully presented and in cracking form.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A collection of real gems 24 Nov 2010
Format:Hardcover
Salley Vickers is one of my favourite novelists so I was delighted to find this, her first collection of short stories. She proves herself to be a master of the form, which seems particularly well suited to her deceptively subtle style. The lightness of touch disguises some sudden dives into depths of emotion, so that the reader is frequently caught off guard by the twist in the tale, as in the clever title story of the collection, or The Buried Life, which is a painfully accurate account of the pitfalls of making new relationships when there are children. But there are happy stories here too, such as the delightful Shakespearian fairy tail, The Indian Child, or the witty Green Bus to St Ives, about an unusual late love affair. Exquisite stuff!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short Stories Re-discovered 16 Mar 2011
By A. J. Russell-pattison VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
I have never been a great fan of short stories or collections of them. I generally find that they are too dense and esoteric, trying to cram to much into a genre which does not afford the space or abrupt and under developed. A friend sent me this book (good job, from the title and cover I would probably not have lifted it from a book display) and I started without much joy. I soon, however, gained much joy on realising that this author has achieved what everyone says is so hard, namley to crack short story writing. With deceptive simplicity and true skill she crafts each story well. I highly recommend it!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful 18 Nov 2010
By Ella
Format:Hardcover
Having read a number of Salley Vickers books, I always look out for a new one. Usually I am not a short story reader but I was delighted by this book. All the stories have the usual ingredients of Culture, Spirituality and Insight which are a feature of Salley Vickers writing. For those who do not have much time to give to reading but who want to read something meaningful, this is an ideal book. I do hope Salley writes more short stories, I am sure that her professional experience has afforded her a wealth of ideas to draw upon.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A charming and cohesive collection 21 Sep 2011
By bookelephant TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
I am not wild about collections of short stories generally - either the stories are overcompressed or too slight, or the sheer variety of the subject matter jars. This is a collection which I feel steers a good middle course. In confining the theme to love, the collection has sufficient cohesion. But each story has something a little different to say, and one reads it with a smile of enjoyment or acknowledgement.
Having said that though, I recently read Midsummer Night in the Workhouse - Diana Athill's collection of short stories about love, and in terms of skill, point and vision I felt these were quite a long way ahead. Part of the problem with the Vickers collection is that her calm semi detached - quasi psychoanalytical? - approach does place a barrier between the reader and the story. One observes wisely, from a distance; with Athill one lives the experience with her ...
So a pleasant enjoyable read, but not likely to be your book of the year.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Easy to download 25 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Purchased this book as part of our book group choice for this year. Disappointed with the content as felt more like magazine short stories and lacked 'bite'.
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3.0 out of 5 stars OK! 23 May 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I found the stories in this book very uneven in terms of how they engaged my interest. I am a tremendous fan of Salley Vickers' novels, but I feel that the short story format does not lend itself to the deep psychological portrayals of which is the mistress.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Salley Vickers does it again 6 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Vickers demonstrates her amazing talent for detail and capturing amazing carachters in the short story mode as easily as she does in the full length story. In a few pages I felt I knew the carachters intimately, there was enough information for you to instinctively "know" what had not been written.
Vickers must write faster, I have almost caught up and read most of what she has written.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars this lady writes well
short stories which I hadn't expected. But good short stories.
Published 2 days ago by Ruth Coppard
3.0 out of 5 stars It's some and some
Some of the short stories worked very well - others I felt were disappointing - but everybody's tastes are different. Read more
Published 14 months ago by TillyTee
2.0 out of 5 stars Aphrodite's hat by Salley Vickers
I am not a fan of short stories. But this book was selected by our book club. I sometimes feel that these are ideas which the author found unsatisfactory for a full length novel... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Barbara Hill
4.0 out of 5 stars Most enjoyable selection of stories
I found each of the short stories beautifully constructed, and with very different subjects.This is an author who never disappoints
Published 18 months ago by Mary hamblin
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy to pick up
Short stories which are easy to read in a spare 5 minutes. Some were more memorable than others. Some were pleasantly quirky. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Mrs. Alison R. Tanner
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Stories Tinged at Times with Melancholy
A lovely collection of stories by the brilliant Salley Vickers, dealing with the theme of love: from a small girl's craving for a kitten (she gets it! Read more
Published on 27 July 2012 by Kate Hopkins
3.0 out of 5 stars I didn't realise
I really enjoy Salley Vickers books; she's very inventive and kind - and keeps you guessing. The kind of books that I tend to keep and re-read. Read more
Published on 15 Nov 2011 by C. A. Godden
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointingly Unoriginal
Having recently read Amy Bloom's outstanding "Where the God of Love Hangs Out" I was bound to compare these two collections of short stories. Read more
Published on 14 Sep 2011 by clara76
1.0 out of 5 stars Clumsy writing, trite story lines, scenes from a soap
The worst short stories I have ever read. They have the intellectual content of a radio soap opera. The prose is clumsy and needs a decent editor.
Published on 22 July 2011 by Alan
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