There is no excuse for me having spent so much time reading this really, really good novel. It’s absurd. I blame it on the lovely, hot, suffocating weather and too many days spent at wonderful Portuguese beaches which completely whack out my concentration and ability to process sentences while someone’s dragging me into the ocean by my foot. It’s not my fault!
I honestly think the only reason I even managed to finish this wonderful piece of art (yes, art!) was that I got very sick sometime last week after spending an entire day at the Lisbon Zoo. I’ve been bedridden ever since, and Possession was my faithful companion (even if I did fall asleep a couple of times). Enough talking about me, let’s start talking about Maud and Roland and Christabel and Randolph!
From Wikipedia: The novel concerns the relationship between two fictional Victorian poets, Randolph Henry Ash and Christabel LaMotte, as revealed to present day academics Roland Michell and Maud Bailey. Following a trail of clues from various letters and journals, they attempt to uncover the truth about Ash and LaMotte’s past before it is discovered by rival colleagues.
Honestly, I don’t think I can do this book any justice, and I can’t really give anything else on the plot for fear of ruining it. Byatt created this world from scratch. She made up two Victorian poets and then wrote their poems. Wrote them. From scratch. In Victorian English. And she wrote their letters, and several people’s journals and it is so intrinsically amazing and different, and all the characters are so marvellous and I cried, you guys. I never cry when reading. It’s that good.
The only thing I didn’t enjoy were the poems themselves, which I believe are wonderful and fantastic, but I happen to hate poetry. I can’t stand it. I don’t understand it, I don’t like reading it, I don’t like thinking about it. I spent two years reading poems for my Portuguese Literature class, and while I understand Bocage, Almeida Garrett, Fernando Pessoa and the like are poetic geniuses, I still don’t enjoy their work. But I’ll give A.S. Byatt this: she is one bad-ass lady for writing this damn masterpiece that rightfully won the Booker Prize.