The Matisse Stories was the second short story book I read by A. S. Byatt. I understand once again in every story why she is so popular. It was wonderful to read the Matisse Stories, now that I started working on painters. While the book is easy to read even if you don’t know anything about Matisse, it becomes more enjoyable if you are a little familiar with his paintings. But even if you are not, there is no problem as you can find the mentioned picture online. Also, if you don’t feel like checking his paintings, each of the stories is so impressive that they make one happy as if one was looking at a beautiful work of art.
There are three stories in this little book. In the first, there is the story between a hairdresser and a regular customer. The end is so impressive that it will fascinate you. My favourite is the second story. Aside from the story’s relevance to Matisse, its characters are awe-inspiring. It will make you think a lot about loneliness, friendship, love and perspective. The third story contains excellent descriptions. The story takes place in a beautiful Chinese restaurant, and although it only consists of a conversation between two people, it immediately catches one’s attention. A. S. Byatt is an excellent storyteller. If you want to read an author who knows how to use the words and stories about art, look no more. Enjoy!
The Matisse Stories
Each story is in some way inspired by a painting of Henri Matisse, each is also about the intimate connection between seeing and feeling — about the ways in which a glance we meant to be casual may suddenly call forth the deepest reserves of our being.
Their subjects’ lives unravel from simple beginnings — a trip to the hair dresser, a cleaning woman’s passion for knitting, lunch in a Chinese restaurant but gradually the veneer of ordinariness is peeled back to expose pain, reveal desire, or express the intensity of joy in color and creation.
These stories are all about human beings: about how little we can know (or may care to know) about the people with whom we spend our lives, and how tragic the results of that ignorance or indifference can be.
A. S. Byatt
Dame Antonia Susan Duffy DBE HonFBA, known professionally as A. S. Byatt, is an English novelist, poet and Booker Prize winner. In 2008, The Times newspaper named her on its list of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: