[openbook booknumber=”0375705759″]


A book of short, very poetic, stories Elementals was a a very nice treat that I got myself and read over Christmas. For some reason no one buys me books anymore, I think they are intimidated by my five page long amazon wishlist. So I’ve been buying myself titles off of it in an attempt to shorten it some.

I have read a collection of A.S. Byatt’s short stories before in the form of Little Black Book of Stories and so more or less thought I knew what to expect. The stories I read in the collection Elementals absolutely blew me away.

He muttered to himself. Why bother. Why does this matter so much. What difference does it make to anything if I solve this blue and just start again. I could just sit down and drink wine. I could go and be useful in a cholera-camp in Columbia or Ethiopia. Why bother to render the transparency in solid paint or air on a bit of board? I could just stop. He could not.
–A Lamia in the Cevennes.

The byline of this book is Stories of Fire and Ice, so all of the stories contained these two elements in one way or another. Several of them read very much like fairy tales in their representations of one or the other of the elements and made for very pleasant and lyrical reading. “A Lamia in the Cevennes” was very artistic, fantastical and eerie while “Jael” managed to appear non-fantastical until the very end which gave you shivers.

My favorite in the collection would have to be “Cold” though. The story of the ice princess and the desert prince was very touching and extremely well written, the prose in this story alone made reading the book very much worth it. I even read that particular piece aloud to my husband who also enjoyed it very much.

If you are a fan of A.S. Byatt then you will love this book, if you are just a fan of re-written fairy tales you will also love this book and should become a fan of this amazing author. The only reason it lost a star is the first story, “Crocodile Tears” – while powerful, poetic and meaningful in its own way – was a story I found hard to get into and was a very long short story to start the book off on. I guess that particular piece just hit a little too close to home for me.

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