Teresa's Reviews > Possession

Possession by A.S. Byatt
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's review
Aug 30, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: favourite-books, brit-lit, 20th-century, historical-fiction

This book is beautiful. The writing itself is so magnificent.
About the plot, it's simple – I mean, there are few turning points and one can easily imagine what's the whole story. And nonetheless it "possesses" you. Not only because of the "current" plot, but because of the story surrounding Ash and La Motte. Even though it rather looks like something exceptional, it is so human, so natural, so heart-breaking. As I said, the writing is out of this world.
Plus, the poets (Ash and La Motte), never existed, they both are creatures of Byatt's imagination, but in the book you find poems of both of them, even parts of literature books about them. So they look real, and that's the thing. Even though it's a novel, a tale of a Romance, it exists, when you read it all of it – the story, the characters, the places – come to life, and so they remain because this extraordinary novel sticks to your memory.
I also liked the playing with the name "possession". About "possessing" someone, the loved one, or something very precious, as Ash's and La Motte's love letters.

Read it.

The only likely problem for some is that it is, some times, a bit tedious. There isn't a lot of action (a bit at the end) and the writing is very descriptive, and the letters, journals and poems too and also quite dense and, well, maybe too "embellished". But that's definitely something you can cope with. And it really compensates.
This book is just so wonderful.

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Quotes Teresa Liked

A.S. Byatt
“What is it my dear?"

Ah, how can we bear it?"

Bear what?"

This. For so short a time. How can we sleep this time away?"

We can be quiet together, and pretend - since it is only the beginning - that we have all the time in the world."

And every day we shall have less. And then none."

Would you rather, therefore, have had nothing at all?"

No. This is where I have always been coming to. Since my time began. And when I go away from here, this will be the mid-point, to which everything ran, before, and from which everything will run. But now, my love, we are here, we are now, and those other times are running elsewhere.”
A.S. Byatt, Possession

A.S. Byatt
“Mine the long night
The secret place
Where lovers meet
In long embrace
In purple dark
In silvered kiss
Forget the world
And grasp your bliss”
A.S. Byatt, Possession

A.S. Byatt
“I cannot let you burn me up, nor can I resist you. No mere human can stand in a fire and not be consumed.”
A.S. Byatt, Possession

Reading Progress

August 30, 2011 – Shelved
December 11, 2011 – Started Reading
December 11, 2011 –
page 15
December 11, 2011 –
page 34
December 11, 2011 –
page 44
December 12, 2011 –
page 58
December 12, 2011 –
page 88
16.67% "Really enjoying the book so far."
December 12, 2011 –
page 112
December 12, 2011 –
page 128
24.24% "It only gets better and better for now. You really have the impression Ash and La Motte actually existed"
December 14, 2011 –
page 162
December 15, 2011 –
page 201
38.07% "The letters were amazing."
December 15, 2011 –
page 221
December 16, 2011 –
page 276
December 16, 2011 –
page 284
December 16, 2011 –
page 318
December 17, 2011 –
page 350
December 17, 2011 –
page 383
December 17, 2011 –
page 432
81.82% "I cannot stop reading it. I love this novel."
December 17, 2011 –
page 476
December 18, 2011 – Shelved as: favourite-books
December 18, 2011 – Finished Reading
February 6, 2012 – Shelved as: brit-lit
March 10, 2012 – Shelved as: 20th-century
August 2, 2012 – Shelved as: historical-fiction

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