Possession by A.S. Byatt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I can't remember the last time I read a book that both challenged me intellectually AND was a page turner. It's fiction and yet it is not. It is a classic Victorian novel, and yet it is not. It is poetry and prose; detective fiction and romance and history.
Byatt is brilliant. As another reviewer commented, you immediately get a sense of just how smart she is (Cambridge educated). Her grasp and explanation of literary criticism is thorough...it really forced me to call to mind everything I learned way back during my English degree. But she does not shove the various theories (ie. those of Lacan, Derrida etc) down your throat, they simply flow out of the story.
And the characters. I love a story with well-developed characters, and this was no disappointment. While Byatt is good at describing them physically (fashion is sadly stuck in the 80s), she is even better at simply allowing the characters show who they are...their foibles and hang-ups and strengths.
I came across this book after discovering the movie. The movie did well in casting, but covers NONE of the depth of the story. This book should be made into a miniseries rather than attempting to cover it in two hours. And I would love to see that happen.
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