Medusa's Ankles: Selected Stories (Vintage International) (Paperback)
A ravishing, luminous selection of short stories from the prize-winning imagination of A. S. Byatt, "a storyteller who could keep a sultan on the edge of his throne for a thousand and one nights" (The New York Times Book Review). With an introduction by David Mitchell, best-selling author of Cloud Atlas
Includes the story “The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye”—the basis for the George Miller film Three Thousand Years of Longing starring Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton
Mirrors shatter at the hairdresser's when a middle-aged client explodes in rage. Snow dusts the warm body of a princess, honing it into something sharp and frosted. Summer sunshine flickers on the face of a smiling child who may or may not be real.
Medusa's Ankles celebrates the very best of A. S. Byatt's short fiction, carefully selected from a lifetime of writing. Peopled by artists, poets, and fabulous creatures, the stories blaze with creativity and color. From ancient myth to a British candy factory, from a Chinese restaurant to a Mediterranean swimming pool, from a Turkish bazaar to a fairy-tale palace, Byatt transports her readers beyond the veneer of the ordinary—even beyond the gloss of the fantastical—to places rich and strange and wholly unforgettable.
About the Author
A. S. BYATT is the author of numerous novels, including The Children’s Book, The Biographer’s Tale, and Possession, which was awarded the Booker Prize. She has also written two novellas, published together as Angels & Insects, five collections of short stories, and several works of nonfiction. A distinguished critic and author, and the recipient of the 2016 Erasmus Prize for her “inspiring contribution to ‘life writing,’” she lives in London.
“Amongst the many prizes that A. S. Byatt has won in a stellar career spanning nearly six decades, a late accolade, the Hans Christian Andersen Literature Prize, cites her ‘belief in the truth value of fairy tales, fables, and poetry.’ It’s an award that perceptively understands much of the foundation and inspirations for Byatt’s work; for running like an underground river, or a life-giving stream, in her oeuvre is a cogent, intricate, enriching conversation going on with some of the oldest genres known to human civilization. Her mythopoeic powers are formidable, entrancing.”
—Neel Mukherjee, Electric Literature
“Medusa’s Ankles collects mesmeric, tantalizing short stories from over the course of Man Booker Prize-winning author A. S. Byatt’s career . . . A peek into an acclaimed author’s range as well as her poetic depths . . . As in her novels, Byatt’s shorter works display her fluent, luminous prose. Even in her most realistic stories, dark and glittering descriptions bewitch readers into an otherworldly experience.”
“A scintillating look at three decades of the author’s work. Her stories transcend genre and stylistic limits, traversing through landscapes fantastical and real, as they bewitch, unnerve, and comfort the reader . . . Each story showcases Byatt’s exquisite prose and her wide-ranging mastery of the short story form. For the uninitiated, this makes for a perfect entry point.”
“The short story format suits Byatt beautifully. She favors adjective-spangled cascades of images, excavates the dictionary for rare specimens, and sends iambs and anapests cavorting across the paragraphs . . . Exquisite . . . Beautifully evocative.”