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.
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"Literary critics make natural detectives", says Maud Bailey, heroine of a mystery where the clues lurk in university libraries, old letters and dusty journals. Together with Roland Michell, a fellow academic and accidental sleuth, Maud discovers a love affair between the two Victorian writers the pair has dedicated their lives to studying: Randolph Ash, a literary great long assumed to be a devoted and faithful husband, and Christabel La Motte, a lesser- known "fairy poetess" and chaste spinster. At first, Roland and Maud's discovery threatens only to alter the direction of their research, but as they unearth the truth about the long- forgotten romance, their involvement becomes increasingly urgent and personal. Desperately concealing their purpose from competing researchers, they embark on a journey that pulls each of them from solitude and loneliness, challenges the most basic assumptions they hold about themselves, and uncovers their unique entitlement to the secret of Ash and La Motte's passion.
Winner of the 1990 Booker Prize, Possession is a gripping and compulsively readable novel. A.S. Byatt exquisitely renders a setting rich in detail and texture. Her lush imagery weaves together the dual worlds that appear throughout the novel--the worlds of the mind and the senses, of male and female, of darkness and light, of truth and imagination--into an enchanted and unforgettable tale of love and intrigue. --Lisa WhippleReview:
"As always, Byatt wields beautiful prose, and the mix of prose and poetry gives the book a sensuality as mysterious as anything in the plot" ( Elizabeth Kostova)
"Intelligent, ingenious and humane" ( Times Literary Supplement)
"Intelligent, literary, and ambitious...combines the drive of the thriller with the 19th-century novel, and throughout she threads the poetry and passion of ''romance''....races to a riotous final scene of storms and graveyards" ( The Times)
"You turn its last page feeling stunned and elated, happy to have had the chance to read it. 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 that starts with an old book in a London library and ends on a storm-wracked night in a churchyard before an open grave." ( Washington Post)
"Proves that a serious, intricate book can also be a page turner...manifest intelligence, subtle humor and extraordinary texturing of the past within the present make Possession original and unforgettable" ( Time)
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