By A. S. Byatt
In those breathtaking novellas, A.S. Byatt returns to the territory she explored in ownership: the panorama of Victorian England, the place technological know-how and spiritualism are either renowned manias, and family decorum coexists with brutality and perversion. Angels and bugs is "delicate and with a bit of luck ironic.... Byatt completely blends laughter and sympathy [with] striking sensuality" (San Francisco Examiner).
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Additional info for Angels & Insects: Two Novellas
26 13:09 OCV:0 6185 Lentricchia / LUCCHESI AND THE WHALE / sheet 58 of 128 This page intentionally left blank 6185 Lentricchia / LUCCHESI AND THE WHALE / sheet 59 of 128 The book in question is not about the man called Ahab. The book in question would prefer not to be about the White Whale. I am loathe to name here either book or White Whale, because their respective names appear to the casual eye as the same name, though they are hardly the same—and yet, for 150 years, in Melville’s sad lifetime and long after his death, among normal readers and the professors alike, the names of book and White Whale have been thought to be one and the same; often, by the professors, are written in public print as totally the same; without fail by their students, by the journalists, and most grievously by poets and novelists of easy piety, the fraudulently reverent, who take their epigraphs from the book whose title they never get right.
As if that weren’t enough, he adds: “And this, then, is the meathook of love. This is love’s meathook, Mr. ” Three-Finger walks to the door and opens it. The big man comes in. ” He says, “Frank, there is an undercurrent in this room. ” He’s pointing at Tommy. ” Tommy stands and ThreeFinger walks up to him, as close as possible, kissing distance, and says, “Frank squeezes the shit out of people. Young man, your shit comes from your throat. ” Nobody says anything. Then ThreeFinger reaches into Tommy’s groin with the left hand that’s like a claw.
Even at sixteen, he’s capable (somewhat) of smiling at his passion. And yet, he enjoys it so much, languishes, really, in the thought of his passivity. How he loves the vision! She’ll come running over the untrodden white pages. From some terror, she’ll come running into his strong arms, drawn irresistibly by his ﬁrst work of literature. Remembers something beautiful he’d read in a book. His most enjoyable and useless ideas come from books. An Italian named Calvino had written about a boy who lived in trees, never coming to earth.
Angels & Insects: Two Novellas by A. S. Byatt