Rating: +

A. S. Byatt

In broad terms, Possession is about two English literature researches in England who, in the course of their research, find hints to parts of the lives of the authors they study which were not known. The book progresses almost like a mystery novel, with these two researchers trying to find out what, if anything, really happened, but the clues are in the old letters and journals of these authors, as well as in their poems and stories. The personalities and lives of both the authors and the researchers are developed simultaneously through the book and what we see of each time period reflects back on the other.

With respect to the poetry in this book - it can be long and dry at times. While it does add to the book, it is not necessary to read all of it to enjoy the book, in my opinion. My recommendation is to read as much of it as interests you and skim or skip the rest.

A.S. Byatt in general likes to develop her characters by having them talk about what they are reading or writing. Many of her books include characters who are literary scholars and she uses this to both give an external perspective to the situation that the character is in, by showing what the author being studied had to say about a similar situation, but also by showing the character in turn reflecting on the authors comments.


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