A new volume of stories from A. S. Byatt is always a joy, and this one is rich and rare indeed. In the same distinctive format as "The Matisse ... Show synopsis A new volume of stories from A. S. Byatt is always a joy, and this one is rich and rare indeed. In the same distinctive format as "The Matisse Stories" and "The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye," this collection deals with betrayal and loyalty, quests and longings, loneliness and passion -- the mysterious absences at the heart of the fullest lives. A woman walks away from her previous existence and encounters an ice-blond stranger from a secretive world; a schoolgirl draws a blood-filled picture of the biblical heroine Jael; a swimming pool reveals a beauteous monster in its depths. The settings of "Elementals" range from the heat of Provence in summer to the cold forests of Scandinavia, from chalk-strewn classrooms to herb-scented hillsides, from suburban streets to rocky wilds. A marvelous present for all A. S. Byatt fans, this magical collection will also serve as a perfect introduction to one of our finest contemporary writers.