Books by A.S. Byatt

RAGNAROK by A.S. Byatt
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 1, 2012

"Though the cadences are like those of a fairy tale, a narrative seen through the eyes of a child, the chilling conclusion is not."
A multilayered retelling of the end of the world from Norse mythology, framed by the award-winning British novelist's analysis of how myth relates to her own work. Read full book review >
THE CHILDREN’S BOOK by A.S. Byatt
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 6, 2009

"Ambitious, accomplished and intelligent in the author's vintage manner."
Byatt (A Whistling Woman, 2002, etc.) encompasses the paradigm shift from Victorian to modern England in a sweeping tale of four families. Read full book review >
LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF STORIES by A.S. Byatt
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 2, 2004

"A stunning, altogether irresistible collection."
With painstaking precision, Booker-winner Byatt (A Whistling Woman, 2002, etc.) analyzes the frailty, impermanence, and disturbing complexity of the human body. Read full book review >
A WHISTLING WOMAN by A.S. Byatt
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Dec. 17, 2002

"Not a perfect work, but an unarguably major one. Byatt's quartet is well worth the time and attention it demands."
The life of the mind and the confusions of the spirit confront one another to often telling effect in Byatt's lavishly orchestrated eighth novel. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2001

"The overall effect is somewhat slight and rather disjointed, but not without attraction."
Seven essays by novelist Byatt (The Biographer's Tale, 2000, etc.), all ostensibly linked by the motifs of writing and reading fiction set in the past. Read full book review >
THE BIOGRAPHER’S TALE by A.S. Byatt
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 24, 2000

"Not for Oprah's Book Club—but readers willing to be lectured will be suitably rewarded."
An academic who forsakes the realm of concepts and theories for the quotidian world of "things" is the unlikely—and quite likable—protagonist of Byatt's formidably learned latest, which echoes rather loudly her Booker Prize-winning Possession (1999). Read full book review >
ELEMENTALS by A.S. Byatt
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1999

Six rather arbitrarily linked stories (which allegedly explore various "extremes and polarities") from the rococo stylist whose best fiction includes Booker Prize—winning Possession (1990) and the (rather similar) story collection The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye (1997). Read full book review >

THE OXFORD BOOK OF ENGLISH SHORT STORIES by A.S. Byatt
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 1, 1998

A solid collection of 37 stories, presumably intended to accompany an earlier volume edited by the late V.S. Pritchett. Read full book review >

THE DJINN IN THE NIGHTINGALE'S EYE by A.S. Byatt
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 1, 1997

Four short fairy tales with a contemporary edge, and one novella-length tale that brilliantly transforms a story of middle- age angst into a celebration of serendipity and sex. Byatt (Babel Tower, 1996, etc.) uses that parallel world of fairy tales—which closely resembles our own in motive, character, and outcome—to explore the sources of hope and imagination. ``The Glass Coffin'' reworks a traditional quest tale as a tailor seeking employment helps a stranger and, as a reward, is given a glass key and certain mystifying instructions to follow that lead him to a beautiful sleeping princess. Read full book review >

SOCIAL SCIENCES
Released: Sept. 17, 1997

Two discriminating readers invite us to listen in on seven conversations about six important novels by women. Bestselling novelist Byatt and psychoanalyst Sodre cultivate the art of literary conversation. Read full book review >

BABEL TOWER by A.S. Byatt
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1996

An ambitious, intelligent work that, while aiming to get Britain's swinging '60s down pat, unfortunately scants the usual fictional elements, putting in their place a mordant and always perceptive historical critique. This third installment in Byatt's planned quartet (after The Virgin in the Garden, 1979; Still Life, 1985) is set in that small, cozy Brit world where everyone knows everyone else because they've all been to prep school or Oxbridge together. Read full book review >

THE MATISSE STORIES by A.S. Byatt
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 1995

Inspired by Matisse paintings, these three splendid stories (two have appeared in the New Yorker) pay homage to the artist as they offer equally memorable verbal portraits of apparently ordinary lives driven by pain and disquiet. Just as Byatt (Angels and Insects, 1993, etc.) prefaces each story with an appropriate illustration, each also begins on a deceptively simple, even homely note: a middle-aged woman having her hair cut; a mother trying to work at home while she waits for the doctor to check her son's chicken pox; and a woman meeting a colleague for lunch at the Chinese restaurant she regularly patronizes. Read full book review >

ANGELS AND INSECTS by A.S. Byatt
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 1993

Two postmodern novellas with Victorian themes that have all the leaden scholarly pretension of that era—and none of the leavening irony that made Byatt's bestselling Possession (1990) so successful a mix of erudition and wit. Taking two intellectually incompatible ideas—Darwinism and spiritualism—of the period, Byatt then sets them up in their quintessential Victorian settings, where they are observed, illustrated, and dissected like the insect specimens of the first novella and found to signify not very much, despite quotes from the greats and the Bible. Read full book review >

PASSIONS OF THE MIND by A.S. Byatt
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: Feb. 1, 1992

A collection of previously published essays and reviews (The Guardian, Times Literary Supplement, etc.), seemingly more the work of a competent grad student than an imaginative novelist, and sure to disappoint those who enjoyed Byatt's Booker Prize-winning Possession (1990). In essays about her favorite Victorians (Robert Browning and George Eliot) and moderns such as Ford Madox Ford and William Golding, Byatt, a former lecturer in English and American Literature at the Univ. of London, explores the relations between narrative and religion. Read full book review >