Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Possession by A. S. Byatt

Possession by A. S. Byatt  (1990, 511 pages)

Possession by A. S. Byatt (UK, 1936)  is a joy to read for the sheer beauty of its prose and the luminous intelligence that shines through in its pages.   It won the 1990 Booker Prize Award.  There are lots of book blog posts on it and over 273 Amazon reviews.  It is in part literary detective story as old letters, diaries and journals are used to unravel a love affair between two Victoria era poets.  Byatt has even included several examples of their poetry for these created by her authors.   There are also extracts from biographies and scholarly papers.    It is a brilliant satire of academics.

This is a tremendously creative book with so much to enjoy.  This is my first work by A. S. Byatt.  I have a copy of her 2009 novel, The Children's Book and hope to read it in 2013.

I do have a serious issue with the Vintage Books paperback edition of this work.  I found it on the remainder desk of a big chain book store here in Manila marked down from 1000 Peso to 149 ($3.00).   This probably means it was shipped in from either the USA or UK when it was returned unsold from book stores there.  The reasons for the poor sales, which this edition warrants, is the extreme small size of the text of the portions of the book that are by the Victorian poets or from books about them.   The print is this size and it is no pleasure at all to read and makes you want to skip large portions of the book which would be s shame.   

This edition of the book is a tribute to the publisher's greed and contempt for readers.  A. S.  Byatt and her readers deserve better.  Before I bought the book I had no way of knowing as it was sealed in shrink wrap


Unknown said...

I have the same sentiment. My editor where I previously worked gave me Possession as a Christmas gift (I'm sure you've heard of manito-manita, which we call in the Philippines) and I wanted to read it but my poor weak eyes easily got strained. I still wanted to read this, though. And I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it, so I am looking forward to my own personal experience with A. S. Byatt.

Mel u said...

Nancy-I hope you will enjoy it-there is a not bad movie based on it that I have seen on Sky Cable here in Manila

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I tried to read this book but was not in the right frame of mind then. I will definitely read this some time though. However I did like the film-great cast!

ds said...

Possession was my introduction to Ms. Byatt also and i adored it. Her shorter stuff is wonderful also--she has quite a quirky mind. Thanks for this!

JoV said...

I hate small fonts and would have given up reading the book. It's a disservice to the writer if this is to happen. Thank goodness for Kindle you can read it with bigger fonts and more space out layout.

I have the Children's Book but not this one.