Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Possession by A.S. Byatt


I'm so happy I finally read Possession by A.S. Byatt! It was just as good, if not better, than all its raving reviews. A.S Byatt's mastery of prose is such beauty to read, and especially with this book draws you in completely.

The story surrounds two very different literature scholars who happen upon a mystery in the life of a nineteenth century poet. Both Roland and Maud, the two scholars, are carefully drawn by Byatt, as usual with an objective air, which instantly gives them credibility and a likability which is only found in honestly written characters. Their complex relationship plays out alongside the mystery of Randolph Henry Ash, a famous nineteenth century poet whose love affair with another poet, Christobel LaMotte, comes to light through newly discovered letters.  Roland and Maud have to find the answers to an increasingly perplexing series of literary discoveries before their competitors and contemporaries pounce upon them. The plot which changes between the modern and the Victorian is beautifully intertwined and remains riveting till the end.

What makes A.S. Byatt so great however, is her ability to involve philosophical ideas and themes throughout her stories. Many layers of ideas, philosophical, literary, sociological, theological are explored throughout the novel. Byatt is a professed atheist, and I if could go back to a university class based upon her work I would strive to write a killer paper showing how often she brings important theological themes to light within her novels. Questions of faith, love, the meaning of life, the importance and immortality of ones work and writings, are just some of what is raised throughout this book. Byatt's writing makes it almost surprising that so many issues are explored for the story is so interesting and beautiful.

I am just pointing out a very slim qualities of this book, and really haven't done it justice at all as a review, but it is much worth a read and will be loved for years to come! 


  1. I loved Possession. Read it several years ago, with a book club--but no one else read it. A most disappointing moment, when I realized I wouldn't have anyone to talk to about it.

  2. It was such a good read wasn't it?! I think its pretty intimidating to the book club set but I really think everyone should read it. I'm a dictator when it comes to good books. Thanks for the comment Betty!


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