Fiction Book Review of Medusa’s Ankles: Selected Stories by A.S. Byatt

Arts & Culture

A.S. Byatt, a seasoned Booker Prize winner (A Possession: a Romance), published a new short story collection last year entitled Medusa’s Ankles: Selected Stories. Within this collection is the ‘short’ (just shy of 100 pages) story The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye, of which the film 3000 Years of Longing (premiering in Sarasota this weekend) is based.

Byatt’s writing is super scholarly and in The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye, her allusions include Chaucer, Freud, architect John Turtle Wood, just to name a few. Not only does she sprinkle complex icons in her stories, she also waxes poetically about social customs; misogyny in literature, women’s and society’s fixation on the female form, sexual abuse and the difficulty of having a midlife relationship.

Best of all, Byatt also inserts ‘fun', a comedic occurrence with tennis player Boris Becker, Perholt’s love of fancy hotel rooms and a soulful scene of intimacy between Perholt and her djinn.

The premise of this particular short story is deliciously fun. Gillian Perholt, a narratologist in her 50’s, buys a beautifully designed piece of glass containing a genie or djinn who grants her three wishes. I will not spoil her choices, but reading the story was like entering a fantastical world, all while grounded in Perholt’s real world lifestyle.

Fortunately for those seeking a beach read or on a limited budget, the paperback version of Medusa's Ankles: Selected Stories comes out September 6th and is available for pre-order at www.sarasotbooks.com or on 9/6/22 in store at BookStore1 located at 117 S. Pineapple Ave. Sarasota FL. For those interested in a community discussion, 3000 Years of Longing will host a talk back this Sunday evening at 7 at Burns Court Theater.

Medusa’s Ankles: Selected Stories by A.S. Byatt, ISBN #: 9780593466858.

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