Although the new A. S. Byatt collection Little Black Book of Stories is something of a disappointment because three1 of the five stories have been published before, the last paragraph in the book book almost makes up for it:
Finally, this book is dedicated to my German translator and to my Italian translators, all good friends and precise readers. Talking to them over the years has changed my writing, and my reading (279).
Quite. In all, though, wait for it to come out in paperback, then borrow it from a friend; unless, of course, you like Byatt’s work a very great deal indeed — in which case enjoy, as the collection is thoroughly typical.
- ‘The Thing in the Forest’ (New Yorker, 3.vi.2002); ‘Body Art’ is in The Phantom Museum and it described as leading ‘the collection of stories and essays from the front, like some big, bold, burgundy sedan trailing a convoy of smaller and less colourful cars behind’; and ‘Raw Material’ (The Atlantic Monthly, iv.2002).