This weekend I read Possessionby A.S. Byatt.  It’s been a few months since I’ve really sat down to read a novel (I read poetry and nonfiction all the time), and I enjoyed Byatt’s work.  Possession is a novel that takes the reader into the world of two scholars who are researching the “forbidden” romance between two (fictional) Victorian writers.  Because there are days I believe that I really belong in the world of 19th century literature (I finished Drood by Dan Simmons a few months ago and loved it!), I appreciated the way Byatt intertwined journal entries, letters, and contemporary settings together to tell a story.  When I googled the book’s title, I found that not everybody appreciated this story — several readers found the book “boring” and “tiresome.”  I do wonder if I liked the book because of the way it shows how academic scholars investigate the world of past literature.   I also wonder if the novel was based on characters that may have been real.  Everywhere I looked, the summaries of the book emphasized that the two Victorian writers are fictional, but still….

Oh!  And there’s a movie.  Starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart.  I’ll have to see if I can pick that up somewhere….


  1. Possession in one of my favorite books. You might also enjoy some of her more speculative short-story collections: The Black Book of Stories and The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye are the titles of the two collections I’ve read and enjoyed. I specifically enjoyed the way she messed around with the idea of genre-writing in Possession: romance, mystery, academic parody – and of course, it introduced me to the Melusine myth, which is fantastic, and got me re-interested in reading French fairy tales.

  2. Karen Weyant Said:

    I thought of you, Jeannine, while I was reading this book! I will have to check out these collections.

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