Monday, July 24, 2006


As you may have seen on the index of this page, in the "Currently Reading" list, I have been reading Possession (A Romance), by A. S. Byatt, for a few weeks now. I seem to be reading it in huge marathon-like chunks and then put it down for a while before picking it up again, and today I've read a hefty chunk which has been so amazingly fantastic that I can't resist recommending it on here.

It isn't an easy read. Yet once it gets going I can scarcely put it down. It is written about two modern academics who discover some letters written by a nineteenth century poet they have devoted their lives to studying, written to a woman, also a writer. This sets them on the track of this huge story that could change the face of all the study done so far on these two poets. The novel makes these academics, in a way, into detectives, and I could never have guessed how exciting and suspenseful the book would be. It follows the story of the two poets, and at the same time follows the story of the academics, and is just so well written that it makes most other literature look like child's play.

The most amazing this about this story is that A. S. Byatt completely made up the two poets. They are absolutely fictional. Yet she has created an entire canon of works written by them, letters by them and writing or diaries by people associated with them. She has created a whole fictional modern academia devoted to studying them. And I had no idea they weren't real until my sister, who lent me the book, told me, because it all rings so true.

1 comment:

Patty said...

Have you seen the movie with Gwyneth Paltrow? I think I have it on tape.

Love the photo...looks like a brilliant place to do some thinking, reading, artwork, etc.