This elegant, beautifully illustrated edition contains three stories, each touched in a different way by the paintings of Henri Matisse. Their subjects' lives unravel from simple beginnings--a trip to the hairdresser, a cleaning woman's passion for knitting, lunch in a Chinese restaurant--but gradually the veneer of ordinariness is peeled back to expose pain, reveal desire, or express the intensity of joy in color and creation. 'A.S. Byatt's three-tale sequence hits the imagination's retina with all the vibrant splatter of an exploding paintbox. Everywhere, scenes sizzle with chromatic intensity.' (London Sunday Times) Like living paintings, these extraordinary stories--each published here in book form for the first time--display the subtle riches of Byatt's writing in a perfect frame.