Visceral, raw, singular, and distinctive, Frost is the story of a friendship between a young man at the beginning of his medical career and a painter who is entering his final days. A writer of world stature, Thomas Bernhard combined a searing wit and an unwavering gaze into the human condition. Frost follows an unnamed young Austrian who accepts an unusual assignment. The catch is this: From the Hardcover edition. Thomas Bernhard was born in Holland in and grew up in Austria. He studied music at the Akademie Mozarteum in Salzburg.
In he began a second career, as a playwright, poet, and novelist. The winner of the three… More about Thomas Bernhard. This is mercilessly honest work. About Frost Thomas Bernhard combined a searing wit and an unwavering gaze into the human condition. About Frost Visceral, raw, singular, and distinctive, Frost is the story of a friendship between a young man at the beginning of his medical career and a painter who is entering his final days.
Also in Vintage International. Also by Thomas Bernhard. See all books by Thomas Bernhard. This is my first Byatt, and it's the kind of writing I absolutely adore. There's something about the fairytale format that always makes me a little giddy-headed, perhaps because it simultaneously sates my craving for fancy and my craving for structure.
It's non-reality that isn't altogether nebulous. And, is that not the very essence of art? I've heard that Byatt's books, including this one, require extensive knowledge of folklore and history, but I didn't find that to be the case. For all I sur This is my first Byatt, and it's the kind of writing I absolutely adore. For all I surely missed, there was enough basic, human truth to carry me through. As you can probably surmise from the title, these stories are steeped in sensation.
She blends mythological elements with the tangible present in ways that will resonate with most any reader. I was reminded of the shivers of recognition I sometimes feel reading Woolf. Sometimes the book felt a little too close and unsettled me. But, I can hardly fault her for that! All in all, love, love, love. View all 20 comments. Apr 05, Rowena rated it it was amazing Shelves: Byatt is an exceptionally creative short story writer. This is my third collection of her short stories and, although not my favourite, it is still definitely worthy of 5 stars.
The fairytale feel of the stories was nice, and her descriptions of the simplest of things are unparalleled and very magical to read. View all 7 comments. Dec 16, Zanna rated it really liked it Shelves: I think this was the first really adult book I read outside the 'classics'. These tales draw on the form and style of fairy tales. They are aesthetic and pared down to survival and sensuous pleasure found in yellow suits and soft bathrobes and copper crocodiles and dancing in the snow and fluted music and blown glass and fish and eggs. I tend to feel this aestheticism stands against the sense-deadening effects of onslaughts of advertising.
Yet in 'Jael' the narrator is a creator of advertising: So advertising does not numb us, so much as exploit our sensitivity to derail desires towards envy and aspiration, the semiotics of status.
The denouement of the story hints at this. In 'Christ in the House of Martha and Mary' status is given another poke and shake, and art rises to the top again. The story 'Cold' first struck me strongest. It does ride though lightly on essentialism and patriarchal tropes, but art cannot do all world-righting work at once, I tell myself. Byatt's skilful rendering of the sensual delights of ice and cold is convincing, and the happy ending in which the princess is enabled by her love and male action unfortunately to live against her essential grain is pleasing.
The first story 'Crocodile Tears' is possibly the most complex. From noting her 'good breasts' and figure-watching food choices, after the metaphorical avalanche that kills her husband, Patricia is free to take sensual pleasure in food and her clothes. The author voice has a strange presence in this story; it wants to make itself felt, by using the present tense when talking about the city of Nimes it insists on an external world, pulling at the stitches binding third person truth and author truth Nils and Patricia disagree about her suicidal impulse; the author withholds judgement.
The new man in her life impinges, he returns her to obligations.
It is not clear whether he precipitates or only ameliorates her near-breakdown. Sep 12, Danica rated it really liked it. If you guys love me or have even a paltry shred of affection left for me in your hearts, you will read the following excerpt: Hot tears sprang in Dolores's eyes. It is not a question of accepting our station in the world as men have ordered it, but of learning not to be careful and troubled. Dolores here has her way to that better part, even as I have, and, like mine, it begins in attention to loaves and fishes.
What matters is not that silly girls push her work about their plates with a fork, but that the work is good, that she understands what the wise understand, the nature of garlic and onions, butter and oil, eggs and fish, peppers, aubergines, pumpkins and corn. The cook, as much as the painter, looks into the essence of the creation, not, as I do, in light and on surfaces, but with all the other senses, with taste and smell, and touch, which God also made in us for purposes.
You may come at the better part by understanding emulsions, Dolores, by studying freshness and the edges of decay in leaves and flesh, by mixing wine and blood and sugar into sauces, as well as I may, and likely better than fine ladies twisting their pretty necks so that the light may catch their pretty pearls.
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- Elementals: Stories of Fire and Ice?
You are very young, Dolores, and very strong, and very angry. You must learn now, that the important lesson - as long as you have your health - is that the divide is not between the servants and the served, between the leisured and the workers, but between those who are interested in the world and its multiplicity of forms and forces, and those who merely subsist, worrying and yawning.
When I paint eggs and fishes and onions, I am painting the godhead - not only because eggs have been taken as an emblem of the Resurrection, as have dormant roots with green shoots, not only because the letters of Christ's name make up the Greek word for fish, but because the world is full of life and light, and the true crime is not to be interested in it. You have a way in. It may incidentally be a way out, too, as all skills are. The Church teaches that Mary is the contemplative life, which is higher than Martha's way, which is the active way.
But any painter must question, which is which? And a cook also contemplates mysteries. He tilted his head the other way. Her head was briefly full of images of the skeletons of fishes, of the whirlpool of golden egg-and-oil in the bowl, of the pattern of muscles in the shoulder of a goat. She said, 'It is nothing, what I know. It is past in a flash. It is cooked and eaten, or it is gone bad and fed to the dogs, or thrown out. The understanding persists, for a time. In your craft and mine. Byatt, I am ever your adoring disciple.
May 03, Melanti rated it really liked it Shelves: Elementals explores the ideas of fire and ice in several different ways. It varies from "Cold", a fairy tale story with literal fire and ice in the form of an ice princess who marries a fire oriented prince, to "Crocodile Tears", a modern story with no magic where the ice manifests as a motif symbolizing guilt and grief. With such a short collection - just six stories- I was disappointed that there was one that fell completely flat for me "Baglady" , but as it was very short, just ten pages or so Elementals explores the ideas of fire and ice in several different ways.
With such a short collection - just six stories- I was disappointed that there was one that fell completely flat for me "Baglady" , but as it was very short, just ten pages or so, it was over quickly. My two favorites are the aforementioned "Cold" and "A Lamia in the Cevennes", a story which contrasts an artists obsession with perfection and a Lamia's desire to be human. It's given an added layer if you've read the source poem, Keat's "Lamia". Dec 31, Jamie rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Update, reading Happened to accidentally re-read this one, having been stuck at a coffeeshop for a few hours with a friend who only had this book to spare me.
Consumed it incredibly swiftly, much like I had upon my first reading, and remembered why I found this collection of tales six total so intriguing, shimmering, and powerful. Each story is organized loosely around extremes of heat and cold; in some cases this is an atmospheric or environmental theme "Lamia" and "Crocodile Tears" , in Update, reading Happened to accidentally re-read this one, having been stuck at a coffeeshop for a few hours with a friend who only had this book to spare me. Each story is organized loosely around extremes of heat and cold; in some cases this is an atmospheric or environmental theme "Lamia" and "Crocodile Tears" , in others it's temperamental or visual "Baglady," "Christ in the House" and "Jael" , and in one, it's a fairytale or fable-esque literalization "Cold".
Every story wields it own particular personality, though as I say, the general theme functions to connect them all as a collection. The prose itself is positively spectacular see esp. Though I think in general, Byatt has a kind of very traditional stereotypical?
British dryness, these stories should pull in almost any sort of reader. This is always my recommendation for the non-initiated, as her novels tend towards slow-pacing and high literary or academic allusions and textures which admittedly is not for everyone. The settings range from the fantastical to the dystopic or hallucinatory, and Byatt's obsession with art is often on display here.
In short, if "Cold" doesn't absolutely engross you, I'd say you may wish to seek out another author. These stories remain among my very favorites in the form. I'm so glad to have discovered a new author to obsess over, and in fact, just purchased The Virgin in the Garden, Babel Tower, and Imagining Characters as well as having Possession on my bookshelf just waiting to be adored to fuel this new passion.
Her style is fluid, magical, and strangely heart-wrenching at times, though in a way that you don't notice until you're already in the depths of emotion. Every story of this collection had something to set it apart, something to mark it as absolutely lovely, and perhaps the most exciting thing is that while her writing style itself is consistent, the stories crossed many 'genres,' for lack of a better word--which was highly entertaining to read, and felt like picking up a new book each time I went to a new story.
Plus, it has some of the most beautiful images I think I've read, with fire and ice being quite explicit, but in strikingly unexpected ways--the resolution of the conflict in the story left me breathless. Perhaps it went on a bit too long, and seemed to hit you over the heard just a bit with the juxtaposition of violence and emotional detachment. But saying it was the weakest really doesn't discount it, because it was still incredible.
I know there's one more, but I can't remember the title or the biblical story is centers on--I loved it, though, enough so to actually look into the biblical myth it was based on if you knew me, you'd know that's a shocker. The discussion of envy and how far we are able to go when deprived of things we desire--well, let's just say it hits rather hard. Now I'm just going on too long. A wonderful collection, dealing with art and its relation to life; with desire--often thwarted, but sometimes rewarded; with the sort of disconnect that seems to accompany modern culture; with beauty and love and passion and all those other really important things.
Drawing on mythology and folklore, her style is wonderfully engaging, it's beautifully and intricately woven, and surprisingly moving by the end of it. I can only offer the highest of praise. May 09, Scot rated it really liked it. A month or so ago a friend had recommended a book by this author to me, so while I was doing something else last week but realized I was on the appropriate floor of my public library to track down and check out that book, I stopped by its place in the stacks.
It was not there, but a whole row of other books by A.
Byatt were, patiently waiting for someone like me to come along and appreciate them. In truth, I selected this volume because of its size—I could fit it comfortably in the span of my A month or so ago a friend had recommended a book by this author to me, so while I was doing something else last week but realized I was on the appropriate floor of my public library to track down and check out that book, I stopped by its place in the stacks.
In truth, I selected this volume because of its size—I could fit it comfortably in the span of my palm, and I already had several other things to carry. I was also attracted to the simplicity of its title: Stories of Fire and Ice , and a bit intrigued by the foreboding tone of the Edvard Munch painting that graced the cover. For those who love words this author offers an extensive command of vocabulary that effectively moves each story along, so this is a good book both for entertainment and for keeping your language skills agile.
Byatt demonstrates a deep and abiding fascination for the power of color and the ability both artists and nature have to influence us through nuance of color, as well as a mystical reverence for the magic of fairies, demons, folktales, and myths. The collection contains six stories in total, each of them inspired by a different work of art pictured at the beginning of the tale.
Not only suppressed terrors but those flickering frames of the continuum that, even at the time, seem certain to be forgotten, pleasantly doomed to nonentity. So they have sunk into our brains after all, are part of us. Patches of time is a mild metaphor, mixing time and space, mildly appropriate in art galleries, where time is difficult to deal with. How do you decide when to stop looking at something? It is not like a book, page after page, page after page, end. The Nimmos spent their Sundays in those art galleries that had the common sense to open on that dead day. I rarely dislike books this much, and I'm afraid this short story collection has coloured my perspective of Byatt for the future.
I'm surprised so many people enjoyed it, but I guess to each his or her own. This collection starts with what I think is the weakest story of all, Crocodile Tears , a boring 75 page-long story about a woman who escapes her life and ends up in a small town. There really is no plot, and I felt no connection to the main characters; it just drags on and on. Byatt does do s I rarely dislike books this much, and I'm afraid this short story collection has coloured my perspective of Byatt for the future.
Byatt does do some good parts of writing with descriptions, but ultimately the story flails around without much purpose.
Frost by Thomas Bernhard
There are 6 stories in the collection, and I somewhat enjoyed Cold , a rather fairy-tale-like story. Baglady stood out for its style, and was a much-needed short burst of energy. The concluding story, Christ in the House of Martha and Mary is also a somewhat enjoyable read, but I wouldn't say I really liked any of the stories. The collection as a whole does nothing for me; Byatt writes mostly to meditate on the flickering of light in glass or in a swimming pool or some other sort of irrelevant detail, in a fanciful way more suited for poetry; in a short story, that style of writing is good to describe a small thing or a few small things of significance, but to make it the point of the entire story utterly ignores the medium.
The characters, therefore,lose their appeal along the way and do not live up to their potential. Sep 02, Dottie rated it it was amazing Shelves: I think this is my favorite Byatt -- because I love the story Cold -- in spite of being a reluctant fantasy, magical realism and so on reader, I was absolutely bowled over by Cold -- it was like reading all the fairy tales in childhood fairytale books but this was an adult reading a book written for an adult and experiencing a fairytale.
It still amazes me that I responded to this story as I did -- and Ire-read it every now and again. I do like the rest Re-read April I do like the rest of the stories but obviously they can't compare to my favorite. Apr 15, Joey-Joey-Jo-Jo rated it did not like it. This book was a complete disappointment. It doesn't have an index, the chapter headings are entirely obscure, and I can never find the stat blocs when I try to use this during play.
The basic problem is that they devoted far too much space to flavor text, and not nearly enough to the crunchy bits and the supporting infrastructure needed to make the crunchy bits useful. While an original and creative effort, I would not recommend this book to anyone but collectors and completists. Aug 12, C rated it it was amazing.
I listened to these on tape and loved them! I'm not always crazy about short stories, but I really like A. I think this is one of the best book of short stories I've every read. Apr 23, Hannah rated it it was amazing Shelves: It carries you, colors your inner mind, and creates scenes so real--and yet so magical--you'd not believe it. I'm in love with her writings; thankfully, she has written quite a bit. Oct 28, Jeneba Charkey rated it liked it. How I loved the first story in this collection! I will read it again, for sure. But the remaining stories seemed to have been written by another person.
Mar 20, Emily rated it really liked it. Whilst Byatt rejected the typical notion of the short story, here several are depicted in an elemental form - particularly the elemental, or essential, use of colour and temperature towards the elements is striking to me. She encouraged me to expand on my typical associations of what blue means and how warmth and coldness can both mean passion.
Jul 18, Maria rated it it was amazing. Nov 26, Melissa rated it it was ok Shelves: See my review https: Feb 07, Jennifer rated it it was amazing Shelves: I loved this one. Byatt is one of those writers that has grown on me over the years. I first encountered her work, as most of her readers do, through her highly-decorated novel Possession, only to come away from it disappointed by a sense that an opportunity had been lost.
Related Frost: A Novel (Vintage International)
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