Variations Temptations [Hardcover] by William Samson978-1-9057
For William Sansom, every aspect of the commonplace could be seen from a changed and utterly strange perspective. The Surrealists had got it right, ...that is how the world is. People and objects interested him equally, and in his work their qualities are often intermingled, so that the inanimate has a sinister sentience and the individual seems transfixed by a nightmarish and inescapable fate.' - So does Mark Valentine introduce us to the twenty-five stories of "Various Temptations", representing the best of William Sansom's fantastic and macabre short fiction. Sansom enjoyed a brief period of acclaim in the 1940s and 50s, when the fresh originality of his stories and his supple, experimental style earned him a place in the leading British literary periodicals. Sansom's writing has been compared with that of Franz Kafka: he was able to transform the intensity of his wartime firefighting experiences in the London Blitz into a tense, peculiarly charged and intimate literature where the everyday becomes symbolic and is imbued with sinister portent. Yet, there is also a life-affirming energy and diversity in Sansom's work. The celebrated story 'Fireman Flower' unfolds the feverish, over-heated mental state of the fireman protagonist in an unusually expressive way. In 'The Equilibriad', a man wakes to find himself aslant, his body able only to move at an angle to the rest of the world. 'The Long Sheet' enjoys the mythic quality of an Eastern morality fable, 'A Saving Grace' is an exquisitely poetic, calmly understated ghost story, and in the macabre 'The Little Room' a nun awaits her horrifyingly Gothic fate.