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Elementals: Stories of Fire and Ice

Byatt, A. S.

Published by Chatto & Windus, U.S.A., 1998
ISBN 10: 0701168234 / ISBN 13: 9780701168230
Used / Hard Cover / Quantity Available: 1
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About the Book

Bibliographic Details

Title: Elementals: Stories of Fire and Ice

Publisher: Chatto & Windus, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition: Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: First British.


Fine/Fine unread copy protected by Archival Brodart Cover. Signed by A. S. Byatton title page. True first with "Peter" instead of "Pier" on acknowledgement page. Size: 12mo - over 6¾" - 7¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 001012

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Book ratings provided by GoodReads:
3.85 avg rating
(1,008 ratings)

Synopsis: A volume of stories from A. S. Byatt is always a joy, and this one is rich and rare indeed. In the same delectable format as THE MATISSE STORIES and THE DJINN IN THE NIGHTINGALE'S EYE, this collection deals with fullest lives. A scholar pursues an elusive biographer, stumbling upon buried fragments of distant lives; a woman walks out of her previous existence and encounters an ice-blond stranger from a secretive world; a schoolgirl draws a blood-filled picture of Jael; a swimming pool reveals a beauteous monster in its depths. The settings range from the heat of Provence in summer to the cold forests of Scandinavia, from chalk-strewn classrooms to herb-scented hillsides, from suburban streets to rocky wilds. A marvellous present for all A. S. Byatt fans, this magical collection is also the perfect introduction to one of our finest contemporary writers.

Review: Byatt's stories simmer with a sensuality and passion which, like topiarian trees in a formal garden, are pruned and trained into cultivated shapes whilst retaining the wild scent of the orchard. In "Crocodile Tears" a woman walks away from a personal tragedy, deserting those she loves to try and reconcile herself to a death for which she feels horribly responsible. Thrown together in Nîmes with another exiled mourner, a Norwegian full of northern folktales, she ricochets between a numbed calm and a reckless urge for self-destruction. Together they begin to assemble some kind of personal solace out of fragments of European history, fiction and myth, and so come to terms with their guilt. "A Lamia in the Cevennes" is also set in France, where another isolated English exile struggles for self-knowledge amid the shards of history and folktale. "Cold" is itself a kind of latter-day fairy story of ice princesses and sighing suitors. These are stories steeped in light and colour, full of glowing landscapes and sensuous delights. Their intricately woven skeins of literary allusion and keenly observed locations bewitch the reader. Yet the figures in Byatt's landscapes seem powerless to derive pleasure or solace from their surroundings, picking their lonely way through the brilliance, carrying with them burdens of painful memories they cannot shake off. --Lisa Jardine

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