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Download The Matisse Stories Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Matisse Stories Audiobook, by A. S. Byatt Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.65 out of 53.65 out of 53.65 out of 53.65 out of 53.65 out of 5 3.65 (40 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: A. S. Byatt Narrator: Wanda McCaddon Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2010 ISBN: 9781455171774
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In this elegant set of stories, three modern women are touched in different ways by the paintings of Henri Matisse.

In “Medusa’s Ankles,” a distinguished translator visits a hair salon hoping to regain a hint of her youthful looks. Hung on the wall before her is one of Matisse’s iconic portraits.

In “Art Works,” the three inhabitants of one household—a generous wife, her petulant husband, and their regal housekeeper—make very different artists.

And in “The Chinese Lobster,” a self-tortured, anorexic art student confronts the smug opulence of Matisse’s nudes while pondering suicide.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Hits the imagination’s retina with all the vibrant splatter of an exploding paint-box…Everywhere, scenes sizzle with chromatic intensity.”

    Sunday Times (London)

  • “I have the hardback, but it is better to hear [McCaddon] linger on some of Byatt’s finely honed description…Virtually every phrase is a treat for the ears. [McCaddon], a professional narrator from way back, knows how to make each word count.” 

    Philadelphia Inquirer

  • “[Wanda McCaddon] brings just the right amount of emotion to three subtle and witty stories…The combination of [McCaddon’s] animated style and Byatt’s vivid workmanship results in a seamless and engrossing audio production.

    AudioFile

  • “Ravishing descriptions of sounds, colors, and smells…bring each setting to life and steer each conflict to its eviscerating conclusion…These are breathtakingly beautiful stories, rendered with precision and poetry.”

    Booklist

  • “Byatt uses bright splashes of verbal color…to paint word pictures similar to the oil paintings of Matisse…[The] plots are expertly crafted and completely believable, with surprising twists and turns…These are memorable portraits.”

    Library Journal

  • “[McCaddon’s]…excellent pacing and authoritative grip on the material won me over. Her narration commands attention from beginning to end.”

    Kliatt

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Pascale | 2/18/2014

    " Two out of 3 of the stories in this collection have a satisfying twist towards the end. A pity the 3rd one is so lame. Altogether there are too many descriptions of objects and the link with Matisse is tenuous at best. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peter | 2/4/2014

    " I don't generally care for fiction that uses works of art as a point of departure, but this collection worked becaue Byatt makes such skillful use of the themes of feminism and feminine body images. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jonah | 1/31/2014

    " Three longish short stories that are pleasant to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Fiona Mclaughlin | 1/26/2014

    " A.S. Byatt is one of my favourite authors, and this book of short stories inspired by artwork from Matisse was edifying. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Megan | 1/20/2014

    " A.S. Byatt is an almost perfect novelist for the Anglophilic history lover. Her works are satisfyingly dense and voluble. This collection of short stories is easier to take in (small doses) than her longer tomes, but nuanced and enjoyable as well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nigel | 1/10/2014

    " The stories remind how unhinged art, and artists, can be, but more importantly how crazy the art world can be. Does art reflect this loopiness? I enjoyed this a lot and now intend to read more A S Byatt. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jen Mahoney | 1/6/2014

    " 2 out of 3 stories are good. Nice for BART. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jami | 12/27/2013

    " great quick read...details and great characters "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cecily | 11/29/2013

    " Good, varied, intriguing, subtle. Each vaguely inspired by a Matisse painting. Probably worth 3.5*. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jessica Moe | 11/12/2013

    " Pefect little book of short stories that shows the relationship of art and liturature... Brilliant as all of Byatt's work is. You will fall in love with Matisse in a new way. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ruth | 11/12/2013

    " There should be a green star for "read it, but don't remember a thing about it," altho that in itself is sort of a review. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alwa | 11/5/2013

    " ehhhh, probably more like 3 stars, but I started reading The Fire Next Time right after it, and pretty much anything would suffer in comparison. Found this a little literal for me, but would still be interested in Little Black Book of Stories. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Holly | 5/29/2013

    " Three amazing stories about art. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Betsy Holt | 11/19/2012

    " Gorgeous prose, especially if you love art. Felt like I was back in English class. Savored every word. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anne | 11/15/2012

    " 3 short stories. I loved the second and third. In-depth knowledge of Matisse not necessary, but probably helpful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Selma | 6/15/2012

    " Thoughtful series of stories that stick with the reader afterwards. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kim | 5/4/2012

    " A. S. Byatt is a terrific author. I liked some of these short stories. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Zoe Tarshis | 2/21/2012

    " Not as incredible as Possession, but I do love Matisse. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alisa | 2/16/2012

    " What I am reading... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andrea | 9/20/2011

    " Interesting and very well written stories. I found them to be a vibrant description of human nature. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kerri | 5/2/2011

    " I prefer novels to short stories. She is an outstanding writer. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kara | 3/1/2011

    " I totally did not get it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alwa | 2/1/2011

    " ehhhh, probably more like 3 stars, but I started reading The Fire Next Time right after it, and pretty much anything would suffer in comparison. Found this a little literal for me, but would still be interested in Little Black Book of Stories. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patricia | 1/27/2011

    " Byatt has the rare gift of writing about art, color and vision. These stories vividly evoke the way that artists see. Each is a gem! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Fiona | 1/16/2011

    " A.S. Byatt is one of my favourite authors, and this book of short stories inspired by artwork from Matisse was edifying. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dwwebber | 5/27/2010

    " I'm always interested in how far Byatt will veer in the direction of being politically incorrect, but then draw back before it's too late. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ann | 10/23/2009

    " Three beautifully written treasures to make you think about art and how it affects our lives. A good introduction to A. S. Byatt. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heather | 10/8/2009

    " These three stories impressed me deeply. Each sets up interesting characters in particular mental states, and in the last page sprung twists that were each shockingly well-conceived and well-written. They hit to the emotional core in a way that's almost devastating. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heather | 10/8/2009

    " These three stories impressed me deeply. Each sets up interesting characters in particular mental states, and in the last page sprung twists that were each shockingly well-conceived and well-written. They hit to the emotional core in a way that's almost devastating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rosemary | 10/1/2009

    " I only read "Art Work", but it was a very well-written story. Wonderful depth of character combined with a social perspective. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Daniel | 7/7/2009

    " Her style is elegant and her characters are poignant. Stories are not much about plot as they are about the language and the tone. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gloria | 7/4/2009

    " wonderful little book esp the last story. She always does the wonderful little contradictions of academia particularly well. Book work reading for the last story which stays with you like a painting. The woman is an art historian by trade I believe. IT works. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kim | 6/21/2009

    " A. S. Byatt is a terrific author. I liked some of these short stories. "

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About the Author

A. S. Byatt, a distinguished critic and author, was educated at Newnham College, Cambridge; Bryn Mawr College; and Somerville College, Oxford. In 1999 she was made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Her other works include Possession, The Biographer’s Tale, and The Matisse Stories, among many others.

About the Narrator

Wanda McCaddon (a.k.a. Nadia May or Donada Peters) has narrated well over six hundred titles for major audiobook publishers, has earned numerous Earphones Awards, and was named a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine.