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 »
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ISBN-13: 9780679735908
ISBN-10: 0679735909
Publication Date: 10/1/1991
Pages: 576
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.

3.5 stars, based on 215 ratings
Publisher: Vintage
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed Possession on + 118 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
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: 3
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: 3
Absolutely extraordinary. One of the best books I've ever read. Intelligent, compelling, unforgettable.
reviewed Possession on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
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 + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This is such a fabulous book! Graduate student Roland finds a letter to an unknown woman written by famous Victorian poet Randolph Henry Ash. Instead of turning it over to his professor, he decides to look into it himself. He identifies the woman as Christabel LaMotte and with the help of a professor who specialises in her writing, they set off on the trail of a literary mystery.

I guess this is really a literary romance - you don't know whether to be more gripped by the Roland/Maud storyline in modern times or the Randolph/Christabel story in Victorian times. It's put together so well, the clues to the denouement are all there, and towards the end it's un-put-downable!

A great book about the power of relationships and the importance of literature - both for those who write it and those who read it. This is one of my all time top 5.
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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.