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Possession

Possession

Написано A. S. Byatt

Озвучено Virginia Leishman


Possession

Написано A. S. Byatt

Озвучено Virginia Leishman

оценки:
4/5 (110 оценки)
Длина:
22 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
Jan 18, 2005
ISBN:
9780060797942
Формат:
Аудиокнига

Описание

Winner of England's Booker Prize and a literary sensation Possession is an exhilarating novel of wit and romance, at once an intellectual mystery and a triumphant love story. As a pair of young scholars research the lives of two Victorian poets, they uncover their letters, journals, and poems, and track their movements from London to Yorkshire -- from spiritualist sénces to the fairy-haunted far west of Brittany. What emerges is an extraordinary counterpoint of passion and ideas.

Performed by Virginia Leishman
Издатель:
Издано:
Jan 18, 2005
ISBN:
9780060797942
Формат:
Аудиокнига


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  • (5/5)
    Possession is exactly that, an exhilarating capture of that readerly surrender. There are elements of obsession in Byatt's detective of letters saga, but such isn't the soul. The focus here isn't on the pathological. The draughts of language which overtake us like some miner's canary flow. The scholar and the poet face each other across the divide. Time's passage and vanity blur the causal arrows. The readers remain the beneficiaries.

    Please don't view the film adaptation. Thank you.
  • (3/5)
    I found this book well-executed but ultimately emotionally unsatisfying. I enjoyed reading it very much, found it intelligent and rigorous, but when I finished, I felt untouched and disappointed.I may give it another chance, someday.
  • (5/5)
    There are two words which explain why it took me so long to read this book. The first is “possession”, which so often has negative connotations -- “possessed” and “possessive” are used when someone has taken control of, or is otherwise claiming ownership of, something that isn’t theirs, or isn’t theirs alone. (I was curious to see if the film adaptation was on Netflix. It isn’t, so so my search just brought up a list of supposedly-related titles: all horror films. Not what I was looking for!) The second word is “affair”. I want fidelity in fictional relationships.Possession is about two English scholars investigating a relationship between two Victorian poets. It begins when Roland discovers unaddressed drafts of a letter tucked into a book owned by Randolph Henry Ash and sets out to find out who Ash was writing to. I expected that this would be a story I’d take a while to warm to, like the 19th century fiction I read at university. It wasn’t. I read Possession with delight, then disappointment, and then with an urgency that surprised me and then, finally, with bittersweet pleasure. I read Possession with a set of post-it flags, so I could bookmark all the passages I liked, and once I finished it, I bought a copy and carefully transferred those flags across. Possession is about things I feel strongly about. It reminded me of some of the British books which made the biggest impression on me growing up, and also of the best bits of my university experience: libraries and poetry and fairytales and how the academic world views women of the past. It’s about the joys of language and of narratives. It is a story about the possession of information and the possession of others’ possessions. It’s about the desires which drive these characters as they pursue letters, relationships, answers, ownership, secrecy. It is a story about knowing, and about how difficult it is to know the full story. This plays out in the way Roland and Maud uncover Randolph and Christabel’s story in pieces, like a puzzle; they find all the main pieces, in the end, but not always in chronological order and there are still gaps, and things which are hinted at but never confirmed. I mentioned disappointment: for a while I wondered if there would be different explanations for why certain characters make certain choices, explanations which would allow the story to take a particular direction without people getting hurt. This is not what happens. But ultimately I appreciate that Possession doesn’t shy away from showing the pain which arises from those choices; it acknowledges the uncomfortable complexities.I like the parallels between the characters in the past and in the present, and how those parallels are themes and variations. … I have a lot of thoughts and feelings, more than I have articulated here. Well, you will say, you are too busy writing the poetry itself, to require employment as a Muse. I had not thought the two were incompatible -- indeed they might even be thought to be complementary. But you are adamant.
  • (4/5)
    This novel has a clever premise. Two academics find surprising secrets about the subject of their studies —two Victorian poets — via discovered letters, diaries, and rereading their poetry. And meanwhile they learn more about each other and themselves. Add to this the other academics on the same trail and this is quite a story. I do admit to skimming, instead of thoroughly reading, the poetry and some of the discovered writings — in favor of the action and dialogue -- therefore this isn't quite 4 stars but comes very close.
  • (4/5)
    Yes, I must confess my initial dismissal of this novel (10 years ago) has evolved quite a lot, from 2 stars to a solid 4 stars. Marvellous stuff that is far warmer than perhaps I gave it credit for in my nebbishly intellectual youth.
  • (4/5)
    I’m not sure how long I’ve had this book. I’ve a feeling my parents gave it me when they lived in the Middle East, and they moved back to the UK in the late 1990s… (Ah. I just checked and they gave it me in 2002… so after we’d all returned to the UK. See, keeping records is a good thing.) Anyway, it’s been hanging around in my book collection for over a decade. I watched the film adaptation several years ago – featuring two US actors, Gwyneth Paltrow playing a Brit and Aaron Eckhart playing a Brit character that had been rewritten as an American (but Trevor Eve plays the novel’s only American character) – and remember being unimpressed. There are films that are better than the novels they’re adapted from – such as, Marnie, The Commitments, and, er, All That Heaven Allows – but they’re rare. Possession isn’t one of them. The book is much superior, even if it dies “reproduce” much of its subject’s poetry, which is really quite bad. An academic, Roland Michell, studying the Victorian poet Randolph Henry Ash comes across mention of a woman encountered by Ash, Christabel LaMotte, and decides to look her up. This brings him into contact with Maud Bailey, an academic specialising in the poetry of LaMotte. Together, they track down a series of letters between the two, which suggest not only that Ash and LaMotte had an affair, but that some of Ash’s later poetry was directly inspired by LaMotte, and uncovers consequences which impact Bailey and Michell themselves. The book is structured as a straight narrative in the present day, interspersed with correspondence and journal entries from various of the Victorian characters, and even poetry from Ash and LaMotte. Although published in 1990, the present-day narrative reads like it’s set in the early 1980s, which feels odd, and the only year mentioned, 1988, is implied to be some time in the future, The prose is by turns fussy and glib – and Byatt seems to enjoy describing domestic bathrooms in excessive detail – and while the historical bits appear extremely well-researched, something about the correspondence between Ash and LaMotte smells a little too coy and arch to really convince. It doesn’t help that Ash’s poetry, as reproduced, is pretty awful. LaMotte’s is not much better. True, I’m no expert on Victorian poetry – I much prefer poetry from the 1930s and 1940s – but the excerpts from Ash’s epic poetry are not impressive. Possession was widely lauded on publication and won the Booker Prize. Even now, it is held in high regard. It’s undoubtedly a clever novel, and makes an excellent fist of its conceit. The meta-fiction/palimpsest nature of the narrative is something that appeals to me, although such narratives run the risk of being boring in parts and Possession unfortunately fails to avoid that. I suspect it’s a consequence of the structure – over-dramatising such narrative inserts would probably impact their verisimilitude. As a literary fiction novel, I’ve read better; as an historical meta-fictional novel, I’ve read better. But it’s still very good. Recommended.
  • (2/5)
    Not sure why this is a new classic. Slow and not very interesting.
  • (5/5)
    Amazing recreation of 'voice' from the 19th c. Hand to believe that the letters weren't actually written by the characters living in Victorian England. Surprising twists in the romantic.plot. Some very admirable prose passages. Admitting that I skipped most of the poetry chapters to savor later on their own, as they didn't obscure or promote the plot. My only quibble is with the rather sophomoric ending, which was a bit like the Famous Five or Scooby Doo come to the rescue. It was Incongruous and didn't fit with the generally abstract themes (language, symbolism, literary criticism, etc.) and the serious tenor of the rest of book. Still it was a book that enriches you -- at the very least your vocabulary.
  • (3/5)
    POSSESSION begins with an instant mental labyrinth. It continues inspired, clever, and erudite, though soon incredibly boring with no characters to connect with.Quotable: simple, like "My pen is reluctant." And so many more, and yet, "...so it drags..." with much of the poetry and letters being skipped just to finally get to the end.
  • (5/5)
    Possession is nothing short of amazing. Byatt invites you down so many different rabbit holes it is impossible to predict where you will end up. Young academic Roland Mitchell has an obsession with long-dead poet Randolph Henry Ash. He's in competition with several other scholars researching Ash, all equally as obsessed. They all feel they "possess" the man. When you first meet Roland you cannot help but think of him as a spineless wimp; a bland soul without backbone. From the beginning, you are told he is an unwilling participant in his relationship with girlfriend, Val, by his reluctance to rock the boat with her. The real problem lies in the probability he doesn't even want the boat at all. All he cares about is researching the life and times of Randolph Ash. This timid nature poses a real problem when he stumbles upon a new fact about Ash, something never reported before. So begins the mystery. Byatt takes us from Roland's world to Randall's world. Via letters, journals and poetry a secret is exposed. With the help of another young academic, Roland's opposite in every way, Roland discovers the truth about his beloved Randall Ash. His own true self is revealed as well.
  • (3/5)
    After an extremely slow start, too full of over puffed ancient literature and near moldy scenes of unnecessary back story, it became evident that there was actually a story of interest buried beneath the pomp. The literary merit may have been lessened without the continuous flowery references and overlong pieces of poetry quoted from the characters' careers. However, if a significant edit had cleared away all the fluff there would remain a brilliant and thoroughly engaging story. Love takes so many forms and so often takes us unawares when and where we least expect it. But accepting that love for what it is and not what you may dream love should be is both the height and depth of your emotional life. Now off to find the movie version which, I sincerely hope, cut through the extraneous lit heap and was able to clearly depict the beautiful and complex emotional journey at the heart of Possession.
  • (4/5)
    Two literary scholars discover evidence that the Victorian poets each of them specializes in had a love affair with each other, and set about trying to uncover answers to the mysteries of the past.This is, in many ways, a truly impressive novel. There's a bit of mystery, some romance, some feminist themes, and a lot of thoughts about poetry and life. Byatt's also carefully written out letters, journals, and poems of various lengths and kinds by her two fictional poets, and I can't even imagine the work and artistry that must have gone into all of that.I have to say, though, that despite all the intellectual appreciation I have for it, I found this novel very slow-going. Not tedious, never that. But my interest levels in the scholars and the subjects of their investigations varied a lot. Sometimes, I was fully invested in learning more. Other times, I found myself reflecting that while I have a soft spot for people who are passionate about details nobody else cares about, I don't necessarily want to listen to them going on about it for long periods, and the specifics of the love lives of dead fictional poets aren't necessarily an exception. And, as a story, it does feel a little... all over the place. Honestly, for much of it I wasn't entirely sure exactly what I thought of it, other than that it was an impressive piece of writing and a rather odd novel. But did appreciate it, and while I can't deny that I'm glad to finally be done reading it, I'm also glad to have read it.Rating: This is super hard to rate, but I'm going to give it a 4/5.
  • (5/5)
    Beautifully written.
  • (3/5)
    This was a heavy slog. In parts I really enjoyed it, in others I found it utterly tedious. I found all the poetry a drag, and a lot of the lengthy 19th Century sections (with the exception of Sabine's diary, which was a great read) similarly hard to get through. If you love playful and erudite prose, and are familiar with literary theory, this might be the book for you. If you want a fast-moving, gripping plot, it probably isn't. I don't give 1/2 stars, but if I did I'd probably give it 2 1/2.
  • (3/5)
    "He slept curled against her back, a dark comma against her pale elegant phrase." There, the berlinartparasites money shot.
  • (3/5)
    I'll be honest - I skipped what many would consider to be important portions of this novel, namely the poetry and the love letters. Bottom line, I can't follow Victorian romance poetry, and the letters weren't far removed. As historical fiction though, this was a really good story, and the number of books I favor with a current and past activity going on at once continues to grow. It made for interesting discussion at our book club, but I should note that everyone had a hard time with it and the number of readers that could finish in a month was low (as in one)....FYI! I do respect the author's work overall in all she accomplished, even though I could not fully appreciate it.
  • (3/5)
    I found this book more intriguing than straight-up enjoyable, I wanted to know what happened next and resolve the story lines while being frustrated by unsympathetic characters (who did become more sympathetic) and certain plot choices.
  • (5/5)
    It took me a long time to get round to reading this, but it is another example of a book which deserves all the hype. A glorious mixture of styles and highly realised pastiches, driven by a compulsive plot, but never afraid to indulge in lengthy and entertaining digressions. After reading this I sought out all of her other novels, which are all rewarding in different ways.
  • (2/5)
    I watched the movie a few months ago, and it was pretty good, so I'm looking forward to the book. I think one of the main reasons I liked it was due to the dapper-ness of Gwyneth Paltrow's outfits. Anyways, I have high hopes.
  • (3/5)
    I did read this, and I didn't care for it. I remember it as being needlessly dense and show-offy.
  • (4/5)
    This book is a joy to read on so many levels -- mystery, poetry, fairies, character studies, transformation, and, to quote a line from the Rolling Stones: "...sex and sex and sex." Byatt's mastery of the language and prose is apparent on every page, from the poetry-like prose of the early pages to the rapid-fire delivery during the detective-game ending.

    Some criticisms are valid: a tad too much poetry detracts, particularly opening every chapter (often having concluded the previous chapter); and symbolism (green, white, apples) that pounds the reader -- or at least treats the reader a bit too much like a college freshman. But these are quibbles. Overall, a brilliant book.
  • (4/5)
    It's been a very long time since I read a more beautiful or sadder love story.
  • (5/5)
    Read this many years ago - it remains one of my favourite books. I ought to knock a star off for the poetry, but find I can't.
  • (3/5)
    In many ways, this story completely fits the profile of books that I love to read. Modern day story, with a parallel Victorian mystery in the past - what is there not to love? I thoroughly enjoyed the main story - Roland Mitchell and Maud Bailey, 2 academics who studied Victorian poets Roland Mitchell and Cristobel LaMott, discover a possible secret liason between these 2 authors. What I didn't enjoy or found a bit distracting was the way that the story was told. Roland and Maud make their discoveries through letters written by Mitchell and Bailey or through their epic poems. The writing is a bit formal and flowery. Although beautifully written, I just wanted to get back to the main story. And if I was reading this in print, I would probably have skimmed some of the poems or letters, but much harder to do in audio. But, overall an enjoyable romance.
  • (5/5)
    One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how much Byatt can pack into her work. So many allusions and references, but each is appropriate. I have to say that I'm a bigger fan of her short fiction, but this is by far the best of her novels. It can be a little slow at times due to all the information, but it really immerses you in the world of the novel. This is one I plan on re-reading more than once, and I'm sure I'll always find something I didn't see before. Great stuff.
  • (4/5)
    This is much better than The Game. One of the major problems with that novel was the appalling dialogue. This book has hardly any. Byatt's learnt to play to her strengths. A very clever novel. The sort of thing you'd need to read more than once to pick up everything. Some of the textual extracts are frankly boring, though always convincing. I had to google Ash to check he wasn't a real, if obscure Victorian poet. I liked the correspondences between characters from different time-frames. There's a clever scene halfway through where I wasn't sure who she was talking about. The novel left me a little cold; an effect of Ash and LaMotte being off-stage for much of the time, but there's some beautiful prose to make up for it.
  • (4/5)
    A love story and a story about literary sleuthing into another love story. Though I tried to read all the poems in this book, one could just as easily pretty much skip over it all and still get a lot out of the book. Don't be scared away by some of the ancient (to us) vocabulary either. The end seemed to be a bit trumped up, but overall a great read.
  • (4/5)
    This title was Eva's choice for the genre of romance and our last book before summer. We ate at Pfeffermuhl. The book created some of the best discussions we've had, but also felt like something we would read at university and deconstruct to obtain the author's intentions. Colleen was absent and 2 had not finished reading the book. The first 60%+ is pure plowing, but the last part was good reading. Eva called this a "romance of the archive" to ferret out a mystery.
  • (5/5)
    Two 20th century Victorian literature scholars research the works and complex relationship of two Victorian writers. This was my world.

    It's my favourite book. Nuff said.
  • (3/5)
    Recommended to me as a literary detective story across the centuries - I sort of assumed it would have some supernatural elements - ghost story style - but it has not. Nevertheless I was completely drawn in to the story and characters despite a little apprehension at the start at the thought of dusty academics studying Victorian poets. I even read (most of) the poetry! Thoroughly recommended.