Little Black Book of Stories In this wintry, supremely elegant collection, Byatt (Possession) peels back the surface of everyday life -- and what she reveals may disturb your sleep. In… Little Black Book of Stories In this wintry, supremely elegant collection, Byatt (Possession) peels back the surface of everyday life -- and what she reveals may disturb your sleep. In… 2003-10-24 Fiction
Book Review

Little Black Book Of Stories (2003)

EW's GRADE
A-

Details Release Date: Oct 24, 2003; Writer: A.S. Byatt; Genre: Fiction

In this wintry, supremely elegant collection, Byatt (Possession) peels back the surface of everyday life -- and what she reveals may disturb your sleep. In ''The Pink Ribbon,'' a genteel old man buys his Alzheimer's-stricken wife a stuffed Teletubby, then stabs and mangles it late at night. In ''The Thing in the Forest,'' two small girls see -- or think they see -- a giant, malodorous worm while playing in the woods; they never discuss the creature again, but the encounter haunts them throughout their lives. And in the devastasting ''Raw Material,'' a writing teacher finds his ideal student in a prim elderly woman who describes old-fashioned washday in violent, sensual, and stunning prose. What little he eventually learns about her life is, like the rest of this chilling volume, beautifully described and decidedly ''not nice.''

Originally posted Apr 30, 2004 Published in issue #762-763 Apr 30, 2004 Order article reprints
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