Literary Award Winners Fiction Book Club discussion

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Past Reads > Possession - Through Chapter 9

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message 1: by Tamara (last edited Aug 28, 2013 07:55PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Tamara (tamaracat) | 155 comments Mod
This is a place to discuss Possession by AS Byatt through chapter 9. Please place spoilers under a spoiler tag like so... (< spoiler> < / spoiler> with the spaces removed.

Laura (seegles) I have to say I am majorly hooked so far! I have stayed up far later than I've meant to a few nights... I love the writing style and the fluidity between the various characters and their stories.

I just finished chapter 9, and don't have a whole lot to say, but I will mention one quote I really liked (pg 62).

Maud: 'And you? Why do you work on Ash?'
'My mother liked him. She read English. I grew up on his idea of Sir Walter Ralegh, and his Agincourt poem and Offa on the Dyke. And then Ragnarok.' He hesitated. 'They were what stayed alive, when I'd been taught and examined everything else.'
Maud smiled then. 'Exactly. That's it. What could survive our education.'

Tamara (tamaracat) | 155 comments Mod
Reading along, albeit slowly, and just wanted to post thoughts on the description of Roland Mitchell in Chapter 2.

We learn that Roland has acquired high levels of education and is now, "essentially unemployed". I think this is actually quite fitting in our current society, that people are often considered "over qualified" for jobs, especially my generation. When we graduated from undergraduate college jobs were sparse so we all continued with our educations, hoping that something else would be available if we were more marketable, only to find that the vast education we had was now a reason NOT to hire because of over qualifications, companies not wanting to pay what you're worth, etc. Though this novel was published over 2 decades ago, so it may not be referencing the same kind of situation I am talking about, but perhaps the life of an academic/researcher who has chosen to be "essentially unemployed" because of the draw to study.

message 4: by Trudie (new) - added it

Trudie (trudieb) hmmm, I am about 50 pages in and struggling i have to admit.

Tamara (tamaracat) | 155 comments Mod
Ditto, Trudie. I find the pace to be going very slow. The language is so dense and the story jumps around so much that I find it hard to read a quickly as I would like.

message 6: by Trudie (new) - added it

Trudie (trudieb) Agreed. Its very dense and it is making me feel very dense ! It feels at times like reading a discourse on literary theory. Yet I know from some of the reviews on here that people absolutely love this novel...

Tamara (tamaracat) | 155 comments Mod
FINALLY finished the first 9 chapters last night.

The story hasn't really grabbed me, unfortunately. I don't particularly like the jumping around between the novel, the letters, the stories and poems... It seems like a lot of jumping around.

I am WAITING for Roland and Maude to hook up already! I know this is a romance, so let's get on that! I will be so disappointed if they don't.

Some quotes that I came across that I liked:
"If you can order your Thoughts and shape them into Art, good: if you can live in the obligations and affections of Daily life, good. But do not get into the habit of morbid Self-examination." p. 47, Chapter 4

"For the difference between poets and novelists is this-that the former write for the life of the language-and the latter write for the betterment of the world." p. 147, Chapter 8

"So often it is in this life. We become consistent and orderly too late, on insufficient grounds, and perhaps in the wrong direction." p. 167, Chapter 9

Discussion Questions:
1. What are your initial impressions of the characters?
2. Do you think the poems and stories we have seen by writers within the novel contribute to the story or are standalone pieces?
3. How are the characters similar or different from the writers they study?
4. What do you predict will happen in the next segment of the book?

message 8: by Sheila (new)

Sheila | 11 comments Hahah - just reading those excerpts is making me not want to read this one! Maybe it's because I'm reading them on the computer, but they seem pretty hard to follow.

message 9: by Ashley (new)

Ashley I agree Sheila! I am not a fan of poetry which is why I decided to hold off on reading this one until more people commented to see if I may end up liking it.

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