K.D. Absolutely's Reviews > Possession

Possession by A.S. Byatt
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's review
Sep 06, 2009

really liked it
Read in September, 2009

This book is among the 501 MUST READ BOOKS and 1990 MAN BOOKER PRIZE awardee. Halfway in my reading I thought of creating a shelf for unfinished books and this would be the first entry. However, I got a bad backache and I had to lay down in bed to recuperate so I persisted and finished the book up to its last page. I am glad I did because the novel is really gorgeously written and the last 10 pages was a whooper and they helped in reversing my rating from 1 or 2 to 5 stars!

My edition is the first Vintage paperback edition and it has a gorgeous illustration of two Victorian poets who I think should be the two lovers during 18th century England: Randolf Henry Ash and Christabel LaMotte. Randolf was married while Cristabelle had a lesbian lover. They had a child who Christabel hid from Randolf and grew up believing that Cristablle was her aunt. Their lives were not known to public and was about to leak to public after 300 years when the modern day literary scholars Roland and Val came to discover the correspondences between the two and the journals and manuscripts of their works and the people they knew.

Byatt's prose is engaging and brilliant. She is both effective in her Victorian English and in her present-day narratives. The use of epigram to introduce each chapter is just bewildering. It is like reading the poetry and the prose and see their connections and appreciate the beauty of both powerful forms of literatures.

This novel deserves all the accolades given to it and Byatt is now one of my favorite intelligent female contemporary novelist!
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Reading Progress

09/03/2009 page 140

Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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Angus My decision to give this a one star also changed at the last few pages. I couldn't give it a five because I didn't understand the poems. They bored me to death.

K.D. Absolutely A. S. Byatt is one of my favorite female authors. Stephen (no longer active) introduced her to me. So far, I read and liked this and her thicker book, The Children's Book.

Angus Now that I think of it, I don't have a favorite female author. Could be that I've been reading more classics than contemporary fiction, and there weren't a lot of female writers then. I am gravitating towards Virginia Woolf and Willa Cather. Oddly, I haven't read any of their works yet. I'll be reading a couple this year. And I like Flannery O'Connor's short fiction.

K.D. Absolutely I like Woolf, Murdoch, Byatt, Sparks and even Alcott. Can't think of any other. I have not read any Cather nor O'Connor yet. But I will. And opps, George Eliot (even at the time that I thought she was a he) ha ha.

Angus Si Byatt na lang yata ang buhay sa kanila, haha.

K.D. Absolutely Onga. Well, sa mga buhay, sino ba ang medyo gusto ko? Hmmm. Si Doyon pero parang di sya masyadong active at popular. Si Mariel Burbery (Elegance of the Hedgehog) medyo type ko rin.

Angus Baka si Jennifer Egan magaling. Pulitzer at NBCC nasungkit niya. At mukhang bata pa lang naman. Si Jhumpa Lahiri magaling din, kaso short stories pa lang ang nabasa ko sa kanya.

K.D. Absolutely Di ko pa nabasa si Lahiri. Interpretation of Maladies.
Di ko kilala si Egan.
Si Arnold Clavio ha ha

Angus Haha, si Egan ang author ng A Visit from the Goon Squad.

message 10: by K.D. (new) - rated it 4 stars

K.D. Absolutely Okay.

Karen Just wanted to let you know that your review has inspired me to persevere. (am also currently bed ridden with muscle spasms , is Byatt the cure or the cause?)

message 12: by K.D. (new) - rated it 4 stars

K.D. Absolutely The cause! The cause!

Karen LOL! Oh dear, now I'm afraid to touch "The Children's Book"

message 14: by K.D. (new) - rated it 4 stars

K.D. Absolutely Just kidding. I loved that book too!

message 15: by Alka (new)

Alka I watched the movie that got made on this novel and loved it.

message 16: by K.D. (new) - rated it 4 stars

K.D. Absolutely Alka, really? I did not know that there was a movie adaptation of this book. Thanks! :)

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