Elementals : Tales of Fire and Ice, by AS Byatt

Six short stories totalling around 4.5 hours. I've not read any AS Byatt before so thought it might be a good way of trying her out.

Unfortunately I didn't really get on with this book. I didn't find any of the stories interesting - either from the point of view of plot or the writing. Listening to them, it felt like any sentence could be the last one of the story: while there were plots, they seemed to be incidental to the descriptive passages, and so there didn't seem to be any sense of the stories going anywhere.

The writing style didn't really do anything for me either: the first story in the book has a woman running away to France, and while the writing conveyed the sense of heat and ennui, it didn't seem to me to be special enough to make me want to read more.

One of the stories (can't remember what it was called) had an interesting premise: a princess who couldn't tolerate heat was wooed by a series of princes, one of whom came from a desert land where he'd learned the craft of glass-blowing, and had himself built for the princess an elaborate glass model of a castle. This storyline sounds like it has the potential to go somewhere fantastical, but it just didn't grip me.

Completed : 27-Jun-2003 (audiobook)

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