In this elegant set of stories, three modern women are touched in different ways by the paintings of Henri Matisse. In "Medusa's Ankles," a distinguished translator visits a hair salon hoping to regain a hint of her youthful looks. Hung on the wall before her is one of Matisse's iconic portraits. In "Art Works," the three inhabitants of one household--a generous wife, her petulant husband, and their regal housekeeper--make very different artists. And in "The Chinese Lobster," a self-tortured, anorexic art student confronts the smug opulence of Matisse's nudes while pondering suicide.