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February 12, 2004


Johan A

Read PNH's Starlight anthologies and let me know what you think. If you find those short stories pointless and boring, then you can relax and know that you are indeed a hopeless case!


You don't like short stories?? The foundation of my existence is crumbling! My twin doesn't enjoy short stories...

Oh well, I suppose that's allowed. You might try some Jane Yolen, but I wouldn't be surprised if you hadn't already done that. And, as Jophan says, Starlight.


Yep, I would agree that some of these stories are without a point, and I also agree with Sari in preferring "Body Art" and "Raw Material" to the others. (Let's get into the analysis of titles: "Body Art" - installation made of medical specimens, a collection of medical specimens that are artworks in themselves, body piercings in the sense of jewellery and sexual contact; then "art" in the sense of craft: the crafting of new bodies in the wombs of mothers, the skill of doctors in healing bodies, the craft of relationships in bringing two bodies together. "Raw Material" - lived life as material for writing, raw both as in violent and unfinished or unpolished, material both as in something that can be crafted into art and as in physical matter and thus the difference between words and the violence done to the human body... I just love it when Byatt does this!)

The rest of the stories - hmm. I did enjoy her descriptions of the minerals on the Stone Woman ("The human world of stones is caught in organic metaphors like flies in amber. Words came from flesh and hair and plants. Reniform, mammilated, botryoidal, dendrite, haematite.") and the way in which the changes in her attitude towards her own body were depicted. All of the stories are about words and flesh, similarities and differences, and the magic inherent in both. And the different reactions of the two women to the horror of meeting "The Thing in the Forest" - one of them feels made unreal by the fact that such a Thing could be real (and it must be real, since there were two of them to see it), the other clings to the reality of faces, colours and textures, and copes by making a story of the "two little girls who saw, or believed they saw, a thing in the forest...". Which of them is right?

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