Skip to content
Advertisements

Next Up: Possession

The title of today’s post sounds a little like you guys should be expect an exorcism on the blog soon. But let’s hope things don’t get that dramatic.

Possession is a “romance” novel between two Victorian poets! How fabulous!

That’s what I get with A.S. Byatt’s Possession, my next novel from the list. But, really, there’s much more to it than that.

The novel was written as a response to John Fowles’ The French Lieutenant’s Woman, a novel I reviewed back in August 2011.

So here are a few facts about Possession and its author, A.S. Byatt:

  • Possession was published in 1990 and won the 1990 Booker Prize.
  • The novel was well-received critically, drawing strong reviews from The New York Times.
  • The novel was made into a feature film in 2002, starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart. From what I’ve read, the film and the novel differ greatly.
  • The novel’s author, A.S. Byatt, appeared on The Times’ list of 50 greatest British writers since 1945.
  • Byatt (her actual name is Dame Antonia Susan Duffy) lives in Sheffield, England and has a terrible website. Tell me this isn’t an official site.

Outside of the Possession movie, I know very little about this book and even less about its author.

So come join me in the learning experience that is this 500+ page novel called Possession.

And, as always, tell me what you think about the novel if you’ve read it.

Advertisements
28 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sam #

    I had to read this in high school for my British Literature class and I hated it. I think 16 was a bit young to understand what the book was about and appreciate the prose. Definitely not my favorite summer read.

    Like

    March 6, 2014
  2. I read this years and years ago – what I remember is being struck by the authenticity of the different voices the author used, especially when I thought about the fact that she wrote the poetry as well as the prose. Of course, I was much younger and more easily impressed then ;o) Looking forward to what you have to say about it…

    Like

    March 6, 2014
    • Awesome. Can’t wait to write more about it.

      Like

      March 6, 2014
  3. I didn’t know this was in response to The French Lieutenant’s Woman! I finally read it after winning it here almost two years ago and LOVED IT. I might have to bump this one up my list as I know it’s on my bookshelf already.

    Like

    March 6, 2014
  4. Je ne vois pas de mal à ça. Her website is 😉 c’est normal Robert

    Like

    March 6, 2014
  5. Reblogged this on Anakin's reveries in multiverses.

    Like

    March 6, 2014
  6. I rely greatly on your prints. I leave the considerations for you. Hug.

    Like

    March 6, 2014
  7. I just read this one. I liked it, even if it was a little slow in places. But you just can’t get any better than an academic research mystery, right? 😉

    Like

    March 6, 2014
  8. Teresa #

    I wound up really loving this book, but I read 80-100 pages before she drew me in. As Emily J. Said it was slow in parts and that includes the beginning. The mystery was decent, characters were good and I loved the denseness of theme and layers. She knows how to weave the pieces and how to throw curve balls and produce fast change ups. Hmm, weaving and baseball in the same sentence. Anyway, I can’t guess what your reaction will be.

    Like

    March 6, 2014
  9. Possession is a wonderful metafiction focusing on the academic pursuit of two lesbian scholars who have uncovered a secret love affair involving a poet from the previous century. It made me yearn for the many hours of deep literary investigations and an almost complete immersion in the works. Don’t miss all of the great poetry which the author concocts: too many readers of this book have confessed to skimming or skipping the poetry but that is obviously wrong. The poetry is not just decoration and if you skip it, you miss much of the import of the novel; besides, how can you claim to have read a book when you didn’t?

    Like

    March 6, 2014
  10. This one’s next on my reading list once I’m done with Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul. I’ve only read Byatt’s Angels and Insects, and I wasn’t much of a fan, so I don’t know how I’ll like it. But it certainly sounds intriguing, doesn’t it?

    Like

    March 6, 2014
  11. I just read it and I loved it. I’m already looking forward to rereading it. I was very impressed with what Byatt had accomplished with this novel. It’s intelligent and wonderful and just an example of how great novels can be. You can see my review here: A. S. Byatt: Possession (review) | The Literary Bunny
    http://christinarosendahl.wordpress.com/2014/03/02/a-s-byatt-possession-review/ 🙂

    Like

    March 6, 2014
    • Very cool. Thanks for sharing, Christina.

      Like

      March 6, 2014
  12. Of all the books I read in college, this was my favorite. Smart enough to make me feel smarter after reading and rich enough to feel like a novel.

    Like

    March 6, 2014
  13. One of my favorite books of all time, but the only one of Byatt’s novels I can stand. Can’t wait to see what you think.

    Like

    March 6, 2014
  14. Meredith #

    I tried really hard to read this in college, but I thought it was super boring. Maybe I was too young for it? Or maybe it is really not good. Interested to hear what you think.

    Like

    March 6, 2014
  15. It is a notoriously difficult novel to read and one of those people either absolutely love or just can’t stand. It is also one of those that requires dedicated reading, you can’t just read in 15 minute segments here and there, but need to commit a part of your day every day for it.

    Like

    March 6, 2014
  16. Really loved the story in Possession, but it was too slow. The letters were never ending! I gave up half way through and watched the movie instead, sad to say

    Like

    March 6, 2014
  17. Her website seems to be saying the same thing about books being turned into movies. The better the book the worse the movie. Not sure it’s true. But she probably doesn’t need the exposure the web provides.

    Like

    March 6, 2014
  18. oh gosh i’ve seen that movie and it’s tremendously boring…

    Like

    March 6, 2014
  19. I just read this a month or so ago…and I only liked a portion of it. Either I wasn’t in the mood for the poetry and other things, or the Hype Monster did his evil deed and made me expect too much. I think it was a combination of both. I just wasn’t as impressed as I thought I would be. I’m looking forward to hearing what you think.

    Like

    March 7, 2014
  20. Reblogged this on siskailkom12.

    Like

    March 7, 2014
  21. I loved this book and was immediately sucked into its rich language and Britishness from the beginning.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 7, 2014
  22. Terrible website? Only if you’re a geek. The content is for reading not screwing around.

    Like

    March 8, 2014
  23. sureasmel #

    I liked this book but found it almost overly dry in places – which, for me, is saying a lot. The other thing I struggled with was that in terms of structure it’s a total free for all. Sometimes we’re following Roland, sometimes Maude, sometimes we’re immersed in letters between Ash and Christabel – or wait, okay maybe halfway through the book we’ll have a passage about Ash and Christabel narrated in third person even though we haven’t done that yet and we’ll never do it again. I’m all for breaking rules in fiction writing, but it seemed a bit like Byatt just said ‘To hell with convention,’ because it made it easier to tell the story, without any thought for consistency.

    That being said, I still liked it and don’t regret reading it. It’s like a better-written ‘Da Vinci Code’ for book nerds and English majors.

    Like

    March 13, 2014
  24. I’ve come to this party very late. I haven’t read it partly because of my earlier experience of A S Byatt. More than a decade ago my reading group selection was ‘The Virgin in the Garden’, part of the ‘Frederica Quartet’ and chosen because it had been bludgeoned into succinctness by an adaptation for a two-week slot on BBC Radio 4’s daily 15-minute morning book. We often choose a long book for January (on the basis that folk have 10 days off work over the Festive Season) but it somehow seemed a lot longer than the 576 pages Amazon claims for it. No one had a good word to say for it – even those who had enjoyed it on the radio! Can only assume that the abridger had excised all the ‘I am so much smarter than you’ stuff that seems to be A S Byatt’s stock in trade.

    Like

    April 10, 2014

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: