Meghan's Reviews > The Virgin in the Garden

The Virgin in the Garden by A.S. Byatt
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Jul 29, 09

bookshelves: own, summer-read, women
Read in July, 2009

I thought I'd never finish this book. I loved Possession A Romance -- the layers and intricacy and miles of allusion I'll never hope to catch worked in Possession. This book is one of Byatt's earlier books, and I didn't follow or enjoy the Byzantine (or really Elizabethan, I suppose) complexity as much. Maybe it's because I'm less familiar with Elizabethan literature than with Romantic, with the exception of Shakespeare, and maybe it's because all the characters were deliberately unsympathetic. What's interesting about both books is her exploration of sexuality and asexuality, and how the only successfully sexual couple in the book are the most uninteresting -- the fat curate and the thickly unambitious professor's daughter. I've read before that Byatt's infamous rivalry with her sister Margaret Drabble is played out in Frederica and Stephanie Potter, and the unflattering portrayal of Stephanie and the arrogantly unflattering image of Frederica -- proudly unpopular and difficult -- seem to bear this out. I'm glad I read it, and I'll probably read the rest of the Frederica Potter books, but not anytime soon.
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Reading Progress

06/09/2009 page 40
9.35%
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