by A. S. Byatt
Category: Fiction / General
Publication date: 7 February 1991
Number of pages: 528
Prizes: Winner of Booker Prize for Fiction 1990.
Possession is an exhilarating novel of wit and romance, at once a literary detective novel and a triumphant love story. It is the tale of a pair of young scholars investigating the lives of two Victorian poets. Following a trail of letters, journals and poems they uncover a web of passion, deceit and tragedy, and their quest becomes a battle against time.
Booker Prize Winner 1990. When the love letters of Randolph Henry Ash and Christabel LaMotte, Victorian poets, are discovered, rival academics Maud Bailey and Roland Mitchell combine forces to solve the mystery of their parting, in the process uncovering an even greater enigma. Possession benefits from Byatt's abiding interest in Victorian poetry - she has, for example, edited collections of Robert Browning - and the pastiches of poetry and letters which she creates for the blighted lovers, and uses to propel their narrative, are of an unparalleled fluency and plausibility. Mitchell and Bailey's own story echoes the melodrama and excitement of Ash and LaMotte's, mimicking the scope of a Victorian novel. The novel's popularity with critics and a wider public is justified: it is deeply researched, and the fruits of that knowledge of Victorian literature and mores are made accessible to the general reader, and both sets of narratives are utterly gripping. (Kirkus UK)
What the papers say:
"A triumphant success on every level" Cosmopolitan "Teeming with more ideas that a year's worth of ordinary novels" Spectator "This is a novel for every taste: a heartbreaking Victorian love story, a take-no-prisoners comedy of contemporary academic life, and an unputdownable supernatural mystery. You turn the last page feeling stunned and elated, happy to have had the chance to read it" Washington Post "Possession is eloquent about the intense pleasures of reading. And, with sumptuous artistry, it provides a feast of them" Sunday Times "Our best novelist" Evening Standard
A. S. Byatt is internationally acclaimed as a novelist, short story writer and critic. Educated at York and Newnham College, Cambridge, she taught at the Central School of Art and Design, and was Senior lecturer in English at University College, London, before becoming a full-time writer in 1983. She was appointed CBE in 1990 and DBE in 1999. Her most recent novel is The Children's Book.
In Stock: 23 copies