July 20, 2010

Possession by A.S. Byatt

I haven't read a contemporary book as elegantly written as Possession in a long time. This is my first book by A.S. Byatt and she really made a fan out of me.

I love the descriptions, whether it was "twanging music" or a "frigid voice" or "shelf after shelf of wet stone and ledges of rock-pools, stretching away to the sea." Even "caught in the lips of the letterbox." Just beautiful, isn't it?

The story was captivating. I wanted to know more and more about Ash and Christabel, the two Victorian poets whom Roland and Maud are trying to discover whether had a love affair or not. They investigate by reading and comparing Christabel and Ash's letters, diary entries, and poems.

A.S. Byatt created a wonderful array of letters and poems for the two poets. I loved reading the language of their time and the beauty of the way they put words together. I also liked that not only was this story a romance story but also a mystery and a world of intellectual ideas and thoughts. It kept my mind very entertained and it also challenged me.

I can certainly see why this book won the Booker Prize. It is very well-written, with well-defined characters and beautiful writing. I really recommend it.


THE STATISTICS:
BOOK #: 42
RATING: 4.5 Stars
5 CHALLENGES: TwentyTen Challenge, New Authors, Take Another Chance Challenge (for #4), RYOB Challenge, A-Z Titles Challenge
GENRE: Literary Fiction
PUBLISHER: Vintage International
FORMAT/PAGES: Paperback/555
HEY, FCC!: I purchased this book.

22 comments:

  1. This is my very favorite book ever! I read it first in 2002 or 2003 and have read it twice more since then. I love the story of the two poets more than the two researchers. I'm so happy to see you loved it!!

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  2. I just started The Children's Book by her this morning. She really does have a way with words, very fluid and beautiful. I read through the first 50 pages rather quickly because it was so easy to get swept up in.

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  3. I stalled out with the audio book ages ago, but I do have a paper copy that I hope to conquer someday.

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  4. I normally love literary fiction and so I expected to love this.... but I didn't. I actually found it really boring. I wasn't interested at all in any of the characters and half the time I couldn't be bothered to read it properly and see what was going on.

    Im glad that you enjoyed it though, it gets such good wraps I think I am all alone in my dislike of it

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  5. I've been wanting to read this one for years. In fact, it has been on my shelf for years! I really liked the movie (which starred Gwyneth Paltrow). I'm going to have to put it on my list for next year. This year is full up...LOL!
    Great review. =O)

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  6. I've seen a lot of recommendations for this book, and because of them I already own it, but haven't read it yet. I'm glad to see that you think it measures up.

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  7. Glad to hear that you enjoyed this story. I loved it too.

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  8. I have had this book on my shelves for ages and I think I am savouring for a special time when I can devote my whole attention to it as everyone keeps telling me how good it is. Glad to hear you loved it too.

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  9. This has been on my shelves for several years; sounds like it need to squeeze it in soon...LOL

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  10. Love, love, love, love, love this book. One of my all time favs.

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  11. This is the only Byatt I've liked; I think it's her best. But I haven't read The Children's Book yet.

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  12. +JMJ+

    I read this years ago and remembering being both very awed and very sad at the end. (Others have told me they felt differently, so that's not really a spoiler . . . I hope! LOL!) That was before I became an English major, though, so I'll bet I'll have different impressions if I were to read it again now.

    PS--I remember watching the movie with some friends from uni and exclaiming at certain scenes: "See? English is exciting!" LOL! =P

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  13. I admit it...Byatt scares me. I tried reading this one, but I'd just seen the movie and that screwed it all up for me. I was also a little offput by the poetry, though I should probably just get over it, skip it if I want to, and focus on the other bits. And I have some other Byatt titles on my shelves to try, so we'll see how those go.

    So glad you liked this one. I might also try it on audio!

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  14. I have been putting off reading this for years, and I have no idea why. I always see or hear positive reviews, and yet every time I look at it on my shelves, I turn to another book. So strange.

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  16. I tried to read this a few years ago, but I just didn't have the patience for it. I'm not sure if it's my type of story, because the movie wasn't particularly interesting for me, either.

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  17. I noticed there's a copy of this book in one of my local charity shops - and I've resisted buying it because I know it'll sit on top of the book pile for a year or more. Sounds like the kind of novel I would really have to be in the right mood for.

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  18. This author is quickly becoming one that I feel I need to read one day.

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  19. I'm so intimidated by this book! It's on my shelf and has been for a while, but I haven't been able to force myself to pick it up just yet. I think your post may have broken down a bit of the wall I've put up between myself and Possession, so thank you!

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  20. I am so glad to read that you loved this - I adored it too - she really can do pastiche but more than that - it is actually moving. I was very upset that I didn't like the children's book as much but any ASB fan should give it a go.
    Happy reading!
    Hannah

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  21. I have this one but haven't read it. Guess I need to move it closer to the top!

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