24 Following


Currently reading

A Creature of Moonlight
Rebecca Hahn
Saffron And Brimstone: Strange Stories
Elizabeth Hand
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance
Lois McMaster Bujold
Snow in May: Stories
Kseniya Melnik
The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye - A.S. Byatt I read this for the Mythic Fiction book group here on Goodreads, but never got around to going and posting about it over there...

A collection of 5 stories - 4 very short, and one novella-length (the title story). The first 4 stories were excellent - but 4.5 stars for the first half of the book, and 2 stars for the second half (actually, it's a little more than half) averages out to 3.

The Glass Coffin -
A humble tailor granted magical gifts, a sleeping princess, an enchanted prince, an evil magician and a happy ending. The familiar elements meshed together by Byatt's exquisite writing create a fresh story which could have come straight from a 19th-century book of fairy tales.

Gode's Story -
A handsome young sailor's careless ways come back to haunt him - literally - in this tragedy.

The Story of the Eldest Princess -
In a kingdom with three Princesses, an unexplained phenomena occurs - the sky turns green. The eldest princess heads out on a quest to discover the reason for this change, and to turn the sky back to blue. On the road, she encounters some elements that you might expect from a quest story - and some things that you might not.

Dragon's Breath -
A village is plagued by dragons (?) that sap the will and rob life of meaning. More allegorical-feeling than the others, but a thoughtful and lovely tale.

The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye -
This is the one, sadly, that I really didn't like at all. This clearly semi-autobiographical story of a modern "narratologist" who meets a ridiculously handsome djinn-in-a-bottle, and, of course, grants her three wishes, just felt self-indulgent, annoyingly metafictional, and rather dull.

Overall, the book left me with the same feelings I've had about most of Byatt's work - except here my positive and negative feelings were sharply divided. Usually the brilliantly lovely parts and the dull parts of her books are more intertwined.

I did love the selection of nineteenth-century illustrations as headers for each story.