"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.
Pages: 555 (hardcover)
Rating: 9 out of 10
Source: Checked out from library
Date Completed: March 31, 2013
I did not know much about Possession by A.S. Byatt, but I heard about a read-a-long from Care on Twitter and was intrigued. I thought it would be a fun way to read and be more active in the book blogging community. The book was divided up into sections that had to be read by certain dates. As predicted, I fell behind. I surprised myself by making the final deadline.
The book started off slowly and I began wondering what I had gotten myself into and then, all of a sudden, I was completely absorbed. I never knew that researching the lives of authors could be so juicy and reading about the politics of academic departments and fields was fascinating. I was also impressed with the different types of writing featured in the book: poems, short stories, correspondence, and narrative.
I am not giving this a 10 because the first 100 pages were tough to get into and I had trouble with the poetry. I felt like my rhythm got interrupted with the poems. I am sure there is significance to them, but my brain was too tired to pick up on it.
My review and summaries pale in comparison to some of the other participants. You can see the Twitter conversation here. Some of the other reviews are below. If you have a review and would like it listed, please let me know!