23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This review is from: The Little Black Book of Stories (Hardcover)
In these five short stories Byatt once again displays her talent for making the magical out of the mundane. Byatt takes a simple cloth and embroiders it until she has a tale woven richly with mythology and allegory, and strung with references classical and modern, literary and popular. Her well-structured stories are deceptively simple. You close the book feeling satisfied but something draws you back. When you look again, the focus of the stories seem to have shifted slightly and the different facets become apparent.
In The Thing in the Forest we discover that when something terrible happens to us at a young age it can become both more real and less real than anything else in our lives. The memory of the thing begins to mould the person we become and continues to shape our actions as an adult until, for better or worse, it leads us back to the source of our terror. " 'Sometimes I think that thing finished me off,' said Penny to Primrose".
Body Art takes us to that crossroads where modern art meets the base realities of the human body and science has to contend with human emotion.
A Stone Woman is about grief and transformation: a beautifully crafted fairytale, vibrant with colour and texture, with a setting that moves from the landscape of the flesh to the landscape of Norse mythology.
"There was fresh blood on the forget-me-nots and primroses in the carpet. It was not nice." Raw Material is about words. Why do we consider some subjects more worthy of our creative attention than others? Should creative writing be therapeutic? And what precisely is 'Real writing'? Set (as is much of Byatt's work) in a literary environment, where a lacklustre lecturer discusses these issues with the unmemorable members of his creative writing class, this story winds its way to a surprising end.
The Pink Ribbon takes us into the world of poor mad Mado and her suffering husband and carer James. When one day a beautiful young woman knocks on their door begging for sanctuary, James begins to feel that she knows a little too much about them both...