By A.S. Byatt
Completed September 5, 2008
Possession by A.S. Byatt was a literary detective story that is loved by many readers. Winner of the Man Booker Prize, the story of Roland Mitchell and Maud Bailey’s search of a possible love affair between two Victorian poets has delighted readers all around the world.
For me, I enjoyed the “detective side” of Possession. I was on the edge of my seat when Roland and Maud combined forces to determine if fictional poets, Randolph Henry Ash and Christabel LaMotte, were in love with each other. Roland first discovered drafts of letters in Ash’s archives, which led him to Maud, an expert in LaMotte’s poetry. They continued to search through letters, replicate Ash’s holidays and comb through archives to find the connection between these contemporary poets – all while trying to hide their possible discovery from more well-known and wealthier scholars.
I respected Byatt’s ability to replicate Victorian prose. We learned about Ash and LaMotte only through their poetry and letters. She had to create all of this – and it was a lot – which I thought was a remarkable task.
My main complaint about Possession,though, is the overabundance (in my opinion) of Victorian prose that you have to sift through. I am not a fan of Victorian prose, so this is a personal bias. I handled the letters, but when it came to pages of poetry, I found myself skipping ahead.
This book has piqued my interest in the movie, but other than that, it’s a book that I can now check off my list. I don’t regret reading Possession, but I am glad to move on to books that better suit my reading tastes.