Sugar and Other Stories

❰Epub❯ ➞ Sugar and Other Stories Author A.S. Byatt – AS Byatt's short fictions collected in paperback for the first time explore the fragile ties between generations the dizzying abyss of loss and the elaborate memories we construct against it resulting AS Byatt's short fictions collected in paperback for the first time explore the fragile ties between generations the dizzying abyss of loss and the elaborate memories we construct against it resulting in a book that compels us to inhabit other lives and returns us to our own with new knowledge compassion and a sense of wonder.Sugar and Other Stories

Margaret Drabble over the alleged appropriation of a family tea set in one of her novels The pair seldom see each other and each does not read the books of the otherMarriedst Ian Charles Rayner Byatt Sir I C R Byatt marriage dissolved ; one daughter one son deceasednd Peter John Duffy; two daughtersEducationSheffield High School; The Mount School York; Newnham College Cambridge BA Hons; Hon Fellow ; Bryn Mawr College Philadelphia USA; Somerville College OxfordAcademic HonoursHon Fellow London Inst ; Fellow UCL Sugar and ePUB Æ Hon DLitt Bradford ; DUniv York ; Durham ; Nottingham ; Liverpool ; Portsmouth ; London ; Sheffield ; Kent ; Hon LittD Cambridge PrizesThe PENMacmillan Silver Pen Of Fiction prize for STILL LIFEThe Booker Prize for POSSESSIONIrish TimesAer Lingus International Fiction Prize for POSSESSIONThe Eurasian section of Best Book in Commonwealth Prize for POSSESSIONPremio Malaparte Capri ;Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature California for THE DJINN IN THE NIGHTINGALE''S EYEShakespeare Prize Toepfer Foundation Hamburg ;PublicationsThe Shadow of the Sun ;Degrees of Freedom reprinted as Degrees of Freedom the early novels of Iris Murdoch ;The Game ;Wordsworth and Coleridge in their Time reprinted as Unruly Times Wordsworth and Coleridge in their Time ;Iris Murdoch The Virgin in the Garden ;GEORGE ELIOT Selected Essays Poems and Other Writings editor;Still Life Sugar and Other Stories ;George Eliot selected essays editorPossession a romance Robert Browning''s Dramatic Monologues editor;Passions of the Mind essays ;Angels and Insects novellaeThe Matisse Stories short stories;The Djinn in the Nightingale''s Eye five fairy stories Imagining Characters joint editor;New Writing joint editor;Babel Tower ;New Writing joint editor;The Oxford Book of English Short Stories editor;Elementals Stories of fire and ice short stories ;The Biographer''s Tale ;On Histories and Stories essays ;Portraits in Fiction ;The Bird Hand Book Photographs by Victor Schrager Text By AS Byatt;A Whistling Woman Little.

Sugar and Other Stories PDF ↠ Sugar and  ePUB Æ
  • Paperback
  • 256 pages
  • Sugar and Other Stories
  • A.S. Byatt
  • English
  • 01 July 2015
  • 9780679742272

10 thoughts on “Sugar and Other Stories

  1. says:

    It is always a little sad to reach the point where there is no fiction to read by a favourite writer let's hope she still has to come This was Byatt's first collection of stories the last book she published before Possession and although it lacks the thematic unity of most of her later story collections it still contains some fine writing There are some recurring themes death two of the stories involve ghosts and how real life inspires the writing processThe first story Racine and the Tablecloth is a moving tale of a clever girl who is bullied at school and feels antagonised by her teacher Like some of the other stories here this one is a little elliptical For me the least convincing piece was The Dried Witch a rather macabre story set in a primitive village which is interesting because its style presages some of her later fairy storiesOn the Day that EM Forster Died is a story of a writer that must be at least partly autobiographical she has a number of disparate ideas for her next novel and while sitting in the British Library she sees that they would be powerful as part of a single larger work and feels that the shadow cast by Forster has been lifted those who have read the Frederica uartet The Virgin in the Garden Still Life Babel Tower and A Whistling Woman might recognise this description For me this uartet and Possession are Byatt's most complex and rewarding works The story then moves off on a tangent to a decidedly odd encounter with an old acuaintance who tries to involve her in a bizarre conspiracyThe penultimate story Precipice Uncurled is a curious story of a talented young painter falling in love with a friend of Robert Browning and his death in a fall from a mountain in the Apennines where he is trying to capture the light I suspect my ignorance led me to miss some of the resonances and context for this one but it is interesting because it was probably written when she was already thinking about PossessionThe final story Sugar gives the collection its title Sugar is about family history and the way stories are filtered and changed by the teller the narrator compares her parents' conflicting memories of her grandfather the owner of a boiled sweet factory and the stories of her aunts and unclesAs always with Byatt there are plenty of ideas here and this is a rewarding read but perhaps not the best starting point for someone new to her work

  2. says:

    I felt very conflicted about this book The majority of stories in it were extremely unpleasant and several The Dried Witch In the Air so painful I couldn't read them in full Byatt is not at all in her best in the realistic short story medium; her plots stop short in that maddening manner so common to modern short story authors so it's as if the last third of the story itself remains unwritten and only a few times at the end of On the Day that EM Forster Died in parts of Racine and the Tablecloth does she achieve that true compression of theme and time which is necessary in the form of good short stories She also seems very preoccupied with death and the impossibility of an afterlife to a distressing extent for the reader if not for her The stories themselves lack the fine observation of characters over years which give depth to novels like Still Life and the rich varied intellectual tapestry of dozens of different ideas that enlivens Babel Tower and Possession In this she is interestingly unlike her bête noire D H Lawrence whose short stories are far finer than his novels I also confess my interest in this collection was stirred by her supposedly handing the book to an interviewer to use for personal backgroundAnd yet the final two stories Precipice Encurled serving perhaps as a kind of mini Possession or rough sketch for Angels and Insects and Sugar which is explicitly openly a story about the storytelling novelist and her fabricating mother herself are amazing well worth the price of the book redeeming and rescuing everything else So I don't really know how to rate his book I greatly disliked over nine tenths of it But that final tenth was fantastic

  3. says:

    I must admit to being completely in awe of AS Byatt I am always struck by her ualities of great luminous intelligence her keen eye her amazing sense for detail especially emotional detail I wonder what it's like to be her and just be seeing so much and understanding so much I get the sense of this incredibly rich inner life so complex and layered and full of possibility Reading her makes the world seem bigger and denser and brighter and important This wonderful book of short stories demonstrates a wide range of styles and moods from witty ghost stories to precise intimate memoir from savage fable to the terrors of daily life Byatt invests the smallest details with so much meaning that it points at living and experiencing in a deeper and completely human manner

  4. says:

    Racine and the Tablecloth This is such a deeply felt story that it’s hard to avoid wondering if the central conflict between Emily an awkward unpopular bookish girl who writes brilliantly and the headmistress of her school who patronizingly distrusts Emily’s narrow focus on writing to the exclusion of traditional feminine virtues is drawn at least in part from Byatt’s own childhood Be that as it may it’s a story about women raging against all the things that trammel them in the tablecloth in particular represents the embroidery that Emily’s aunt who dreamed of traveling and learning took refuge in towards the end of a life that turned out to be entirely devoted to caring for others and included none of what she wanted Racine on the other hand is the teenage Emily’s favorite playwright and “Phedre” represents a similar struggle of passion and desire against limits The ending makes it clear that Byatt does not want you to regard this as a tale from a bygone era describing a problem that no longer exists A rare story in which writing a brilliant essay on a French play is a blow for the rights of womenThe July Ghost Manages to achieve a kind of ghostliness itself by not naming its main characters who are only “the man” and the “the woman” The woman still traumatized by the death of her son some years ago takes the man as a lodger and he starts seeing her son’s ghost The ghost assumes an increasingly large role in their household in a rather inimical way the ending leaves it unclear not only what path the story will take next but also what path it should take The woman is another female character whose family obligations have kept her from achieving her desires even though in this case the obligation is to a dead family memberThe Next Room A vicious jab at people who conceive of the afterlife as a sort of suburban paradise where you will be reunited with your beloved family members Joanna the main character has spent twenty years nursing her mother suppressing her career her tastes and her personality to adjust for her mother’s imperious and abrasive nature Now that her mother is dead she hopes to finally escape from the fetters of her family even at the age of 59 it may still be possible for her to revive her career which is the main thing she cares about Instead she starts hearing her dead parents uarreling as if in the titular location The implication that there is no escape from the family related oppression of women even in the afterlife is fairly grimThe Dried Witch A sudden left turn abandoning modern Britain for a small village in an unnamed and probably imaginary Asian country at an unspecified time that’s probably at least a millennium ago Even grimmer than “The Next Room” it presents a childless and now probably widowed the husband of A Oa the titular witch was taken away to be a soldier years ago and never returned middle aged woman’s decision to become a witch not as an act of rebellion a la “Lolly Willowes” but instead as part of a process by which her village and by extension the larger society rids itself of unnecessary women The whole process has the air of a ritual in which everybody including A Oa is simply playing a part and the outcome A Oa’s death is never in doubt The only part that rings a bit false is the ending in which A Oa is granted some measure of revengeLoss of Face This takes place in I think we are meant to understand a modern version of the country from “The Dried Witch” Set in a conference on English literature happening in this imaginary Asian country it implies that while Asians have carefully studied the English as represented by their expert knowledge of their literature — when our protagonist Celia gives a lecture on Milton one of the host professors presents a learned response — the English know almost nothing about the Asians and are mystified by all aspects of the host country The title ends up becoming a rather clever pun flipping a stereotype about Asians into one about how Westerners perceive them However using a made up country naturally encourages the reader the Western reader at least to see it as a stand in for all of Asia which seems a bit counterproductive — isn’t Byatt arguing that Westerners should know about the specificity of Asian countries? — and in general she is heavy handed and obvious here than she usually isOn the Day that EM Forster Died Weird story about a middle aged female writer who has an epiphany about writing a massive epic story of her times in the vein of Dickens or Balzac and then runs into an old acuaintance whose somewhat similar epiphany about devoting his life to art has now degenerated into madness And then at the end she has cancer just because The description of Mrs Smith’s thoughts about her project is uite interesting and Conrad’s madness is convincing but the end just seems to be needlessly maliciousThe Changeling Another middle aged writer this one with a deep long lasting fear of well it’s not uite clear the world other people life in general something like that She has managed or less to sublimate her fear into her writing constructing what looks from the outside like an almost perfect life for herself until she meets a young man a student at a school run by a friend of hers who has similar fears The message of the story seems to be that what she most fears is being understood and so rather than form a bond with this young man she finds his existence and uncanny resemblance to the hero of one of her own stories the one who best incarnates her own fears to be the most fearful thing of all He can understand her and so he can see through her carefully constructed life and the carefully constructed stories she uses to channel her fears stories which she is no longer able to write Or at least cannot write until the news of his suicide arrives once safe she can write again It’s an interesting idea but I didn’t really believe it because of the obvious differences between Josephine and Henry most obviously Henry is unable to overcome his fears and kills himself while Josephine has managed in some fashion to overcome hers Her life she thinks is not a true expression of her self but that’s not entirely true she was able to build it and Henry can’t do the same which must mean somethingIn The Air More about fear this time the obsessive fear of the elderly Mrs Sugden that she will be raped probably while out walking her dog The whole story is suffused with an air of menace even though nothing much happens Mrs Sugden meets a blind woman of a similar age and a young unemployed man who has an odd manner and they have tea Is this because Barry the man in uestion is really a serial predator on the lookout for old ladies living alone or simply because it is filtered through Mrs Sugden’s perceptions and she is completely convinced that a rapist is coming for her? Naturally Byatt isn’t saying uite effectivePrecipice uncurled This will be familiar to those who came to Byatt via “Possession” or her other historically minded works The story proceeds through layers first a present day scholar who is studying Robert Browning’s relationship with a woman who lived in Venice then the woman then Browning and then the actual story of the story However Browning’s musings about the way he makes puppets of the people most of them real he writes about in a story in which Byatt is doing the same thing to him even better doing it via another imaginary person the scholar we start with make the whole thing seem like a story writing exercise than a real story It’s a well executed exercise howeverSugar the title story is an autobiographical one I believe and again a little too self consciously self reflective as a meditation about the fallibility of memory in reconstructing the past written by somebody who is using memory to reconstruct the past Byattthe narrator’s mother in particular we are told invented many of the stories that she used to tell her children about the family’s past and now Byattthe narrator a fiction writer is writing a story about it The parallels are a bit too forceful I feel Still even though the story doesn’t have anything new to say on the uestion of memory it does give a good sketch of both of Byattthe narrator’s parents who are its main subject

  5. says:

    This collection of short stories contains the underlying themes of fear futility and the uncertainty of life As always Byatt's prose is beautiful to read but this collection leaves one with a sense of unease

  6. says:

    Complex and beautifully worded this was a very uneven read for me I enjoyed the first Racine and the Tablecloth and last Sugar most with On the Day that EM Forster Died coming in third I loathed The Dried Witch I prefer her long narratives much and look forward to getting to those I've missed

  7. says:

    Read the first two stories then gave up Very wordy wasn't in the mood

  8. says:

    This is one of those books that makes me wish it were possible to use half stars in rating it It's a very uneven collection certainly not a four star book but the best stories in it are good enough that three stars seems a bit paltry Byatt's command of language is as always excellent and I can only admire the way she seems to ignore all rules about story making and to write only to please herself and work out her own ideas about fiction The narrators of these stories are almost all intensely self conscious; sometimes this self consciousness works but in other stories it's tedious

  9. says:

    Every time I read Byatt I find myself choosing my words carefully for the hour or two after I put the book down Her word choice is always so precise and her tone so controlled yet revealing I especially loved the title story and the line None of these words none of these things recall him The gold winged fire haired figure in the doorway is and was myth though he did come back he was there at that time and I did make that leap Perhaps my favorite description of the futility and necessity of words

  10. says:

    My favorite story in this collection is The July Ghost a poignant ghost story It's not a genre that one associates with AS Byatt but she's superb at rendering atmosphere so it should really come as no surprise that she succeeds so well Someone I forget who once said that all ghost stories are about loss Case in point

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