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Search - Possession

Author: A. S. Byatt
Winner of England's Booker Prize and the literary sensation of the year, Possession is an exhilarating novel of wit and romance, at once an intellectual mystery and triumphant love story. It is the tale of a pair of young scholars researching the lives of two Victorian poets. As they uncover their letters, journals, and poems, and track thei...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780679735908
ISBN-10: 0679735909
Publication Date: 10/1/1991
Pages: 576
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.

3.5 stars, based on 218 ratings
Publisher: Vintage
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 1
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

shukween avatar reviewed Possession on + 118 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
A lovely, literary historical mystery!

I adored this book. I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked it up and in fact was a little disinterested in the first few chapters....but then it takes off like a rocket. It's the story of two researchers who are each experts on different Victorian poets. One of them finds a draft of an exceedingly passionate love letter in an old manuscript. Given that the poet in whose manuscript it was found is widely believed to have been happily married for 40 years, thus is launched a delicate mystery requiring careful unraveling. As this researcher follows the subtle clues and trail, he meets the other researcher and together they hold enough of the pieces to find the answer. It is so much more than a mystery--it is a feminist statement, it is an intellectual delight, it is a wry statement on human nature--it is a delicate jewel of a novel that I highly recommend.
reviewed Possession on + 43 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
This is one of my all-time favorite books. Part literary thriller, part romance. Reminds me somewhat of John Fowles' The French Lieutenant's Woman, which is another of my favorities.
reviewed Possession on + 18 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Absolutely extraordinary. One of the best books I've ever read. Intelligent, compelling, unforgettable.
reviewed Possession on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I loved this book! Byatt is a sophisticated, quirky, humorous, inventive and just downright interesting writer. I am now her avid fan, and find the range of topics she delves into impressive. Her research is impeccable, and her prose is so good that it seems inevitable. Highly recommended for readers who love depth in order to be engaged.
reviewed Possession on + 242 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This is a very literary book from a British author. It received rave reviews from The New York Times and other notable reviewers. Though it's labeled a "romance" it's much more than that. It's focus is on obsession by modern critics towards a dead poet and the lengths they'll go through for anything written or owned by that poet, especially is it's undiscovered. For those who love poetry and romance this is a great book. However, I only gave it a #7 rating since I'm not a great fan of 19th century poetry, obscure myths and romance. I found it difficult to read since I was pretty bored. It picked up in the middle (there are 555 pages!). I couldn't relate to the characters' obsession with this long dead poet. And there's a lot of poetry in the book, some of the poems are quite long, which I found myself rapidly skimming. But it is a highly literate book, a thinking person's book whose main appeal is to those who relate to the love of poetry and the veneration of poets.
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reviewed Possession on + 289 more book reviews
The title Possession could refer to so many things in this academic detective story. It could be the professional obsession that academics have for their subject, or passion that takes over two poets in Victorian England. When postdoc Roland uncovers drafts of a letter from poet RH Ash to an unknown woman, he tries to trace it in secret. Rather than a straightforward literary detective novel, large swathes of verse and correspondence are mixed into the narrative. Those who like reading about academia in a former age, Norse and French mythology, or the role of women in art might enjoy that, but I thought it jarred the narrative. However, this was an interesting book from the list of 1001 books you must read before you die.
reviewed Possession on + 7 more book reviews
The movie is a great favorite of mine. I am drawn to past and present stories that are twined together so I looked forward to reading this book. The book is much more complex than the movie, with lots of poetry dotting the literary landscape. The characters were more well rounded - you got a real feel for who they were, what made them tick, and how time and culture had an impact on them. Every chapter makes you want to know more about them and the love stories that blossomed at the end of each era were tender and appropriate - and isn't a good love story more about the emotional connection than the physical one, in the end?
reviewed Possession on + 51 more book reviews
This is a tale of 2 scholars researching the lives of 2 Victorian poets. As they uncover their letters, journals, and poems, and track their movements from London to Yorkshire-from spiritualist seance to the fairy haunted far west of Brittany-what emerges is an extraordinary counterpoint of passions and ideas.


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