Vivid, profound and full of original insights, On Histories and Stories is a riveting essay collection that redraws the map of the boundaries of contemporary fiction.
In her powerful opening essays - 'Fathers', 'Forefathers' and 'Ancestors' - A. S. Byatt considers the renaissance of the historical novel and discusses particularly the novel of wartime experience; the surprising variety of distant pasts that British writers have invented; and the new 'Darwinian novel'.
These afford new readings of writers from Elizabeth Bowen and Henry Green to Anthony Burgess, William Golding and Muriel Spark, and other contemporary authors, including Penelope Fitzgerald, Julian Barnes, Martin Amis and Pat Barker.
She also offers fascinating insight into her own translation of historical fact into fiction in the two novellas which make up Angels and Insects.
“Going from reference to reference in these glittering pages provides you with an essential reading-list for life”
Independent on Sunday
“Biographers, as well as novelists, will find much to celebrate in a collection of essays that is so lavish with quotations from philosophers, essayists and historians... An elegant and thoughtful collection”
“Reminds us definitively that she is not only one of our best living novelists, but one of our most astute readers, too. We are lucky to have her”
“A rare and perhaps unique figure; a critic whose insights are full of a sympathetic, creative and re-creative imagination...The mind that produced splendid, strange fictions is also a first-rate critical intelligence... A writer of remarkable, broad sympathies”