just started reading Little Black Book of Stories by A.S. Byatt. It’s a collection of short stories so I thought I would do something different and review each individual story rather than waiting and reviewing the entire book. Ideally, a collection of short stories will come together over some larger theme that is carried out in some way throughout the work but, at the same time, I don’t think a lack of a larger theme (or just a tenuous connection rather than a clear one) should damage the review of the collection if the individual stories are good.
Before I begin, there are spoilers here. A lot of them. So if that bothers you, don’t read on. You have been warned.
the first story in Little Black Book of Stories (LBBS) is called The Thing in the Forest. It begins in the 1940s in Britain when Germany has begun its attempt to either force Britain into surrender or into the stone age with its constant barrage of bombs and missiles. It focuses on two little girls being evacuated from the city who find themselves at a large mansion in the country. Their youth gets the better of them and they decide to venture into the woods a bit with a younger girl tagging along after them. It is in the woods that they encounter what can only be described as a living horror dragging itself through the greenery, leaving a path of destruction and decay in its wake.The girls hide and wait for the monster to pass and you’re left to wonder of the small younger girl who we assume had followed them.
The story then jumps ahead a life time to when the two girls have become older women and have taken different paths in life but still have startling similarities such as the path of their families (fathers die, mothers live, no children/family of their own) and their lives. they just happen to find themselves back at the mansion they had spent the night at years before when they had seen the creature and each confirms the other’s belief that they really had seen...