The Stories of William Sansom

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The novels and short stories are discussed separately.

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Michel-Michot relates Sansom's intention to his achievement : her concern is primarily with "modes of composition, structure, style, etc. Her procedure is first of all to summarise a work and then submit it to an extremely thorough analysis. One of he characteristics of the short stories is the "insistence of the seeing eye Point of view and style are the two main pillars of a Sansom story : there is usually an omniscient narrator ; the language is supple and colourful yet clear and factual.

Moments of intense experience revealing some third of inner truth are presented, especially in early stories such as the collections Fireman Flower, Three, Something Terrible Something Lovely, dating from between and Their themes are "the essence and meaning of life, what man's attitude to life should be and what hinders him in his search for happiness and balance" p.

Sansom's aesthetic method is descriptive and cumulative. Sansom's field then begins to widen, although it does not appreciably deepen. In such stories as "Time and Place" and "Three Dogs of Siena", however, he is moving in a new direction, concentrating upon situations that develop rather than upon individual moments.

There is a growing interest in character and landscape, and in the interplay between them. More Details Original Title.

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More William Stories read by Kenneth Williams (1983)

More filters. Sort order. Having read William Sansom's first novel, The Body , I wasn't sure what to expect from this collection, given that I knew Sansom had already established a solid reputation as a short story writer before he turned to novels. I guess I thought he'd be even better in the short form, but on the whole I was kind of disappointed in what I found here.

In these stories Sansom places atmosphere over plot. In fact many of them read not so much like stories as extended vignettes. The language is often vivid Having read William Sansom's first novel, The Body , I wasn't sure what to expect from this collection, given that I knew Sansom had already established a solid reputation as a short story writer before he turned to novels.

The language is often vivid but the narrative is sparse.

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There is a lot of expository effluvia paired wth a lack of character development. I could accept either of these on its own, but taken together they heavily weaken a story.

The Stories of William Sansom (Electronic book text)

Sansom also sometimes relies on gimmicky endings, which in my mind only serves to discredit his writerly skills. In contrast, the character development in The Body was a strength of that book, as was its suspenseful narrative. While Sansom does employ suspense in some of these stories, it does not always achieve the same effect, buried as it often is by the excessive exposition. Sansom is also all over the place in terms of theme and, even to a certain extent, style. Perhaps this is the result of the given selection of stories. I might prefer a collection of his stories grouped around a particular theme.

Finally, the majority of these stories are written in third-person POV, whereas The Body was written in first person. I think the distance of the third-person POV combined with the other issues made me feel disconnected from the stories, whereas the first-person POV in The Body enhanced the tension and rich character development, drawing me further into the narrative. All this being said, though, there are still many passages in this collection that held my attention. Meanwhile the sun stretched itself over a sky that widened with the cooling of the day.

Such evenings, tranquil and clear, cloudless and of a still pristine loveliness—may seem not so much true in themselves as of the memory of other such times, immobilized in the past, irretrievable. They are thus themselves imperfect—for the other lost evening assumes the real raiment of perfection. The entity of such times is made up of a sadness, of the word 'nevermore'.

THE STORIES OF WILLIAM SANSOM by William Sansom | Kirkus Reviews

They breed a lost melancholy that is not unpleasurable: rather, it is to be tasted, drunk like some opiate potion of non-desire, for reminiscence of this kind is no more than the ghost of hope, the remainder of hoped-for evenings evoked by the first summer weather now recollected, hopes that were perhaps never realized but which in themselves became the blood of life and now even in memories still invigorate with a shade at least of their ancient ambition.

Jan 21, Patrick rated it really liked it. This is a long and well-rounded collection of his short fiction, republished by Faber, with an introduction from Elizabeth Bowen. These stories follow ordinary men and they are mostly men in situations which range from simply unusual and whimsical to frightening and uncanny. While they can be quite funny, more often they have an existential quality which I often associate with certain trends in continental European fiction; even though Sansom never quite approaches the unrestrained weirdness of someone like Bruno Schulz, you can certainly trace the influence of surrealist and impressionist writers on his style.

And his prose style is really the main point of interest here. Not that this is necessarily the fault of either authors or their audience: tastes change in writing, just as they do in food and clothing and music. A retired actor who has furnished his home as a sort of mock-hotel unwittingly accepts several beautiful women as if they were guests in his home.

Through a series of convenient events, he ends up on the judging panel of the local beauty contest in which they are competing. His descriptions of those women are lush and adjectival almost to the point of perversity. The women here are barely permitted to be characters in their own right: each is only a different kind of fantasy made manifest. As with so many of the stories here, while the male characters involved are often permitted a happy ending with the object of their intentions, the author frequently portrays women as cold, conniving or otherwise distant.

But to whom do we attribute this attitude? Is it simply the author inhabiting the mind of his characters, or is it outright misogyny? Not that the two are mutually exclusive. It occurred to him vividly, then flashed away, for his eyes and mind were continually concentrated on the rusted iron bars and the white knuckles of his hands.

But for an instant he remembered waking up long ago in the nursery and seeing that the windows were light, as if they reflected a coldness of moonlight.

The stories of William Sansom ; with an intro. by Elizabeth Bowen.

Only they were not so much lit by light as by a sensation of space. The windows seemed to echo with space. It was as he had thought. Outside there was space, nothing else, a limitless area of space; yet this was not unnatural, for soon his logical eyes had supplied for what had at first appeared an impossible infinity the later image of a perfectly reasonable flood. A vast plain of still water continued as far as his eyes could see. The tennis courts and the houses beyond had disappeared; they were quite submerged, flat motionless water spread out immeasurably to the distant arced horizon all around.

It lapped silently at the sides of the house, and in the light of an unseen moon winked and washed darkly, concealing great beasts of mystery beneath its black calm surface It has a careless, aural quality, as if the whole thing were being dictated by a familiar storyteller; and yet for all that it feels like composed, quality prose. The imagery is absolutely serious in its strangeness, its texture as crisp and real as a Magritte painting. The breadth of this collection is difficult to describe.

I think I may have read all of one Sansom story before this. How do you describe a collection that includes a terrifying billiards game with a madman that leads to meeting one's future fiancee, a man facing an escaped lion, a country walk turned bad, stray dogs these are the protagonists in Tuscany, a lover with a strange gift, an estranged couple spending a terrifying night in a stone quarry, and firemen saving a cat from a tree? Somebo The breadth of this collection is difficult to describe.

Somebody mentioned Sansom as Aickmanesque and he was also known during his time as "the British Kafka. Sign up. Already a Member? Sign in here.

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The Stories of William Sansom. William Sansom. Myers, Atlantic 'A Sansom story is a tour de force William Sansom William Sansom was a leading writer of his day, both for fiction and non-fiction. Related Articles. The Blitz William Sansom. The Body William Sansom. Free to join Discover Faber Membership. The perks Exclusive Members' events Curated gifts and merchandise Literary news and competitions.