Glowing with narrator Virginia Leishman’s finely tuned phrasing, The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye is the perfect introduction to A.S. Byatt, an author who continues to receive international awards and acclaim. Her wondrous fairy tales are iridescent stories full of spells, marvelous creatures, and beautiful princesses. The title tale focuses on Dr. Gillian Perholt, a narratologist. The sturdy, middle-aged scholar travels the world, speaking at international conferences about the art of storytelling. She immerses herself in the study of fabulous, archetypical heroes: patient Griselda, lovely Scheherazade, brave Gilgamesh. But when she is given the fairy tale’s three wishes—chances to alter her own story, the choices she makes are both timeless and surprisingly unique.
A.S. Byatt, whose imaginative novels sparkle with layers of imagery and drama, focuses on the magic that is created each time a storyeller speaks. The five stories that comprise The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye are as fascinating and finely crafted as ivory puzzles.
©1994 A. S. Byatt (P)1997 Recorded Books, LLC
The title story is a novella, the last of several shorter stories in this book, starting at chapter 8.
It is the best thing I have read by A.S. Byatt, and I am an admirer of her lovely writing. This story is of a narratologist -- an academic woman who studies story-telling -- whose husband has recently left her for a younger woman, and a genie in a bottle, and all the stories they tell between them of their lives, and what happens to them. It is about being a woman, and about being a genie, and about charity and love and getting one's wishes fulfilled.
The reader is perfect for this story and reads it beautifully. After reading it several times, I was glad to be able to experience the story in a different way, read aloud by a very good reader.
I did not finish this book. I got to the third story hoping that each story was going to be better than the last. Unfortunately that was not the case and I finally decided to stop wasting my time on this book.
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