The Matisse Stories share button
A. S. Byatt
Format Paperback
Dimensions 5.20 (w) x 8.07 (h) x 0.39 (d)
Pages 144
Publisher Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication Date April 1996
ISBN 9780679762232
Book ISBN 10 067976223X
About Book

These three stories celebrate the eye even as they reveal its unexpected proximity to the heart. For if each of A.S. Byatt's narratives 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. Beautifully written, intensely observed, The Matisse Stories is fiction of spellbinding authority.

"Full of delight and humor...The Matisse Stories is studded with brilliantly apt images and a fine sense for subtleties of conversation and emotion."—San Francisco Chronicle

Already a bestseller in England and Canada, this elegant, beautifully illustrated volume by the bestselling author of Possession and Angels and Insects contains three tales displaying the subtle riches of Byatt's writing in a perfect frame--each touched in a different way by the paintings of Henri Matisse. Line drawings.


Bruce Bawer

For all their thematic elaboration, Ms. Byatt's stories in "The Matisse Stories" do not feel contrived or didactic. On the contrary, her characters are credible, their encounters authentically complex, their environments vividly delineated. Indeed, these stories are unusually painterly in their particulars of form, color and shadow....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. -- New York Times

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly

Three stories from Byatt, in each of which a woman's life is touched in some way by the paintings of Henri Matisse. (May)

Library Journal

A best seller in England, where it was published in 1993, this beautifully illustrated volume contains three stories-each a sort of "still life" inspired by a particular Matisse painting-of seemingly ordinary women: a middle-aged teacher forced to play psychiatrist to her self-centered hairdresser; a cleaning woman with a passion for knitting; and a college dean discussing a case of sexual harassment with the accused over lunch in a Chinese restaurant. Byatt (Possession, LJ 11/1/90), who has been in the news lately for her principled stand against huge advances for literary fiction, is a consummate prose stylist, possessed of both perfect pitch for dialog and a painterly eye for the telling details that flesh out these characters and reveal their essential humanness. Highly recommended for fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/94.]-David Sowd, formerly with Stark Cty. District Lib., Canton, Ohio