Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Review: The Matisse Stories by A. S. Byatt







Random House



Reading a Byatt book is like a box a fine chocolates: You cant have just one! I’m already planning my next Byatt read possibly Angels & Insects  maybe Possession. I’ve had a craving for art in my life so I plucked this book off my TBR pile.


This novel consists of three novellas involving contemporary women and works by Matisse.

Medusa’s Ankles

The Rosy Nude in the window of a hair salon, brings Susannah into a trendy shop and the magical hands of hairstylist Lucian. As Susannah’s appointments unfold she looks forward to the flow of the salon and the beautiful nude in the window. Less welcome is the drama of Lucian’s personal life and the remolding of the salon. A look  that now reflects the tight brittle harsh realities of Lucian’s salon and Susannah's emotions.


Art Work

Mrs. Brown keeps the harried life of work from home mom Debbie.  Mrs. Brown also has a secret. She has a private passion for art . Has her time around Debbie's husband been an attempt to learn more about the process of creation ? Or has she just quietly been nurturing her skill through the struggles in her personal life. Either way Mrs. Brown’s fame has greatly changed the dynamic of the family and Mrs Browns future.


The Chinese Lobster

I didn't really connect with this story. The main character is off scene for the entire story. Grad student Peggi has filed a complaint against her advisor. Gerda Himmelblau meets with the professor to discuss the students Matisse project . The two share tea and a verbal exchange of attack and parry trying to find the solution to the situation. Byatt always has strong dialogue for her characters but I really didn't enjoy the chemistry between these two characters.


A fine anthology overall, and the author has inspired me to check out a book about Matisse which I will be reviewing tomorrow :)

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