Byatt’s Little Black Book

Claire Messud reviews A. S. Byatt’s Little Black Book of Stories:

Byatt’s stories are provoking and alarming, richly yet tautly rendered. They feed our primitive readerly desires as well as our reflective impulses. She can’t help reminding us that she is far more erudite than most of us (for the fullest enjoyment of ”Little Black Book of Stories,” keep volumes of Ovid and Virgil, of medieval British fairy tales and Icelandic myths, close at hand), but that really doesn’t matter: Byatt has the sheer narrative skill to raise the hairs on the back of your neck and make your pulse race. In this fine and memorable collection, she attains a near perfect balance between low and high, body and mind, the Thing and its significance.


You might want to subscribe to my free Substack newsletter, Ancestor Trouble, if the name makes intuitive sense to you.