'Asylum Piece', the debut collection of connected stories by Anna Kavan, was the first book by her that I've read. Originally looking for a nice edition of 'Ice', I managed to find this first, and decided to pick it up anyway.
A great decision, afterwards, as this modest volume contains a darkly dazzling collection of moody imaginative stories. As can be expected from the tile, Kavan's stories are dominated by themes of anxiety, neurosis, uncertainty, and gloomy moods. However, these grim psychological themes and dispositions are channeled into short stories that are touching and to the point. Compact in terms of composition, each piece says no more than is necessary, leaving much to the imagination, and focusing on the central emotions and motifs in a slightly Kafkaesque style.
In short, these pieces are not for the fainthearted in search of some light reading, nor for aficionados of complicated literature. Rather, it's for those readers who aren't afraid to come face to face with the dark side of the soul.