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This Novel Has Left Me Speechless

Possession has left me speechless. But I’ll still write 296 words for this post, because I like you guys so much.

Or maybe I should say “unable to write”—or whatever the synonym for that is. I feel like this novel has sucked all the life out of my creative bones. It’s a literary Ambien that leaves me in a daze.

I want to finish it badly so I can move on to the next novel and cleanse my bookish palette, yet moving forward is so painful and there are so many other more worthwhile things I could be doing—like trimming my sideburns or spending two hours on the phone with AT&T’s customer service.

This book is like a condensed version of A Dance To The Music Of Time. And by “condensed,” I mean it’s 500 pages instead of 3,500 pages. I think that might be high point for Possession when I review it soon.

I have nothing else to say about A.S. Byatt and her Booker Award winning novel, Possession, at this present time. I don’t have any passages from the novel to share, no witty quotes from its author, nothing insightful about movie adaptations or anything of the like.

I’m just done. You win, A.S. Byatt. You win. Your intellectual, academic tale of two Victorian poets and the modern-day academics who research them has left me dead in my soul.

At this point, I’m tempted to simply post my review with four words: “I hated this book” and then throw it down in the bowels of my rankings with the likes of Mrs. Dalloway and A Dance To The Music Of Time.

But I’ll do better than that. Surely I can find something positive about this novel.

Fingers crossed…my review will come next week.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post of me complaining.

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29 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sam #

    It’s good to know that my literary opinions at 15 were not that far off. I hated this one, too.

    Like

    April 3, 2014
  2. I felt the same way about this novel. We read it in a book club. My best friend who is also in the book club loves this book. I have no idea why. I did not want to finish it either. Let’s just say I skimmed my way to the end just so that I could contribute to the conversation…

    Like

    April 3, 2014
  3. deweydecimalsbutler #

    I haven’t read this novel, but the sentiments are the same way I feel about The Scarlet Letter.

    Like

    April 3, 2014
  4. sally1137 #

    Holy stripes! You’d rather talk to AT&T customer service. That says it all.

    Like

    April 3, 2014
  5. Suffice to say that my initial excitement at (unintentionally … sort of) reading the same novel at the same time as you have swiftly dimmed. I started Possesion last night and so far, not really so good …I can assure you that falling asleep with the light on and a book on my face is nothing new, but doing so after only two pages is relatively unheard of.

    This morning I was still in an optimistic and hopeful state of mind, reassuring myself that things would improve past page two, or three, or even ten – if I could only get that far tonight. It would appear that my eternal optimism may be a little misguided on this! I may just give up now – or at least put it on hold until next week and we see whether or not you have something – anything – positive to say about it. Can I take this opportunity to thank you for potentially saving several torturous weeks of my life … you’re a wee star.

    Like

    April 3, 2014
    • Haha. I do what I can for the sake of literature.

      Like

      April 3, 2014
  6. I understand the frustration well. I was much kinder to Byatt when I reviewed it here: http://psriblog.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/2392/ but I did make note of the tedium and the anti-climactic end.

    Like

    April 3, 2014
  7. In situations where the book is tedious, I’ll sometimes ask myself: “maybe the movie is better…?” against my better constitution…But, then I suffer through to the end of the book.

    Like

    April 3, 2014
  8. sylviemarieheroux #

    I could not read this book… I thought it was because (a) I am not intelligent enough, and (b) I had bought a paperback edition with very, very, very small print that really tried my patience.

    Like

    April 3, 2014
  9. well now I know what not to put on my reading list. Sometimes you just have to say it when a book is really that bad, you serve your readers by going through the same misery you chose to. Have a wonderful day!

    Like

    April 3, 2014
  10. Reblogged this on dunjav.

    Like

    April 3, 2014
  11. I had a hard time reading this one too, but I have to admit that it got a teeny bit better toward the end and I was able to be more engaged as a reader. I hope that happens for you too so you can finish the darn thing! Just skim the literary/letter passages…

    Like

    April 3, 2014
  12. This may be the greatest post about not liking something that I have ever read!

    Like

    April 3, 2014
  13. Nothing quite like a good moan, eh ?

    Like

    April 3, 2014
  14. Your turn of phrase is flawless on this one. Glad I am now spared.

    Like

    April 3, 2014
  15. I found your line about AT&T funny! I haven’t read Possession yet, but I’m going to. I want to know if it’s as bad as you say.

    Like

    April 3, 2014
  16. That bad? I’ll steer clear (and look forward to that review, even if it consists entirely of “I hate this book with the fire of a thousand suns”).

    Like

    April 3, 2014
  17. I have read this book but I ave read books with similar problems. It is very frustrating o me hen it seems like the author is spending more effort in sounding intellectual than stimulating my imagination. It is truly a buzz kill.

    Like

    April 3, 2014
  18. Funnily enough, after reading this, Possession has gone straight to the top of my books to read!!

    Like

    April 3, 2014
  19. Kirsten #

    I enjoyed this book so much when I read it (a while ago) that I was thinking of suggesting it for my book club to read so I would have an excuse to re-read it. (But then I only stopped reading Dance to the Music of Time because my library didn’t have all the volumes.)

    Like

    April 3, 2014
  20. Makes one wonder if certain writers paid Time to put their books on the list. Or maybe it’s the idea that you are a sophisticated reader if you like long slow books where the author wants to show off how smart they are.

    Like

    April 3, 2014
  21. That’s pretty much how I felt when I was reading The Goldfinch. Although I did enjoy bits of the book, I couldn’t wait to be done it. I don’t think I’ll find the time to read Possession. Thanks for saving me the pain.

    Like

    April 4, 2014
  22. Denis Stirler #

    Reblogged this on Denis blogt!.

    Like

    April 4, 2014
  23. I just wonder why you’d stick to the end if you really hated it so much. I understand you want to go through the list of Time’s 100 Greatest Novels, but seriously… sometimes a reader must save themselves!

    Like

    April 10, 2014
    • I agree. But I’ve got to complete the list, even if it’s to my own detriment.

      Like

      April 11, 2014
  24. I couldn’t read this one through either. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I hated it, I just couldn’t enjoy it enough to keep on reading. However, don’t pull A.S. Byatt from your shelf just yet. I suggest you try “The Children’s book” instead. I don’t know if it has any awards, but it is a real treat. The kind ob book that mixes character stories, history and lots of information you will have to read about later on your own. I love this sort of books because they always show me new things I would never have researched on my own. And if you don’t feel like going out of your way like that, you can still enjoy a rich and complex story. 🙂

    Like

    April 12, 2014

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  1. Possession: You Hate It Or You Love It | 101 Books

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