Possession by A S Byatt

I enjoyed this book a great deal. It is a technically a brilliant achievement, running parallel stories about love and relationships while creating two wholly fictional oeuvres, complete with letters, for two long dead literary figures, also fictional characters.

The plot is one of plots within plots, with clever similarities among them brought out as the book progresses. The plot set in the present concerns two academics and their respective interests in the poet Randolph Henry Ash and his friend Christabel LaMotte. This plot includes lots of satire about academic life and mores. The other main plot concerns Ash and LaMotte and their relationship, recounted through long excerpts of their work and their correspondence. All of this the author must have created, mostly written in iambic pentameters, and it is very impressive indeed. It feels authentically Victorian and authentically English.

An excellent book.


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