Articles on AS Byatt
Winner of the Booker Prize 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.
The Children's Book
A deeply affecting story of a singular family.
When children’s book author Olive Wellwood’s oldest son discovers a runaway named Philip sketching in the basement of a museum, she takes him into the storybook world of her family and friends. But the joyful bacchanals Olive hosts at her rambling country house—and the separate, private books she writes for each of her seven children—conceal more treachery and darkness than Philip has ever imagined. The Wellwoods’ personal struggles and hidden desires unravel against a breathtaking backdrop of the cliff-lined shores of England to Paris, Munich, and the trenches of the Somme, as the Edwardian period dissolves into World War I and Europe’s golden era comes to an end.
The Game is a lush and disturbing novel portraying a sibling rivalry which compels the reader to reconsider the uses and misuses of imagination. when they were little girls, Cassandra and Julia played a game in which they entered an alternate world modeled on the landscapes of Arthurian romance. Now the sisters are grown, and hostile strangers–until a figure from their past, a man they once both loved and suffered over, reenters their lives.
The Shadow of the Sun
First published in 1964 The Shadow of the Sun is the story of Anna Severell's struggle at the age of seventeen to evolve her own personality in the shadow of her father, Henry Severell, a famous English novelist. In the introduction to this edition the 1990 Booker Prize winning author looks back at the novel's genesis, and the problems she faced as a woman writing her first novel.
The Virgin in the Garden
Wonderfully erudite entertainment in which enlightenment and sexuality, Elizabethan drama and contemporary comedy, intersect richly and unpredictably.
In this sequel to "The Virgin in the Garden", Byatt illuminates the conflicts between ambition and domesticity, confinement and self-fulfillment, while providing a observation of intellectual and cultural life in England during the 1950s.
After her husband becomes violent, Frederica Potter flees with her young son to London. There, she secures a teaching position in an art school, and finds herself surrounded by painters and poets with dreams of rebellion. Then Frederica meets Jude Mason, the strange and charismatic author of a wildly controversial novel. When her husband files for divorce and Jude becomes the target of a high-profile court case, Frederica’s life threatens to spiral out of control.
A Whistling Woman
A Whistling Woman portrays the antic, thrilling, and dangerous period of the late ‘60s as seen through the eyes of a woman whose life is forever changed by her times.
Frederica Potter, a smart, spirited 33-year-old single mother, lucks into a job hosting a groundbreaking television talk show based in London. Meanwhile, in her native Yorkshire where her lover is involved in academic research, the university is planning a prestigious conference on body and mind, and a group of students and agitators is establishing an “anti-university.” And nearby a therapeutic community is beginning to take the shape of a religious cult under the influence of its charismatic religious leader.
A Whistling Woman is a brilliant and thought-provoking meditation on psychology, science, religion, ethics, and radicalism, and their effects on ordinary lives.
The Biographer's Tale
An ingenious novel about love and literary sleuthing: a dazzling fiction woven out of one man’s search for fact.
Here is the story of Phineas G. Nanson, a disenchanted graduate student who decides to escape the world of postmodern literary theory and immerse himself in the messiness of “real life” by writing a biography of a great biographer. In a series of adventures that are by turns intellectual and comic, scientific and sensual, Phineas tracks his subject to the deserts of Africa and the maelstrom of the Arctic. Along the way he comes to rely on two women, one of whom may be the guide he needs out of the dizzying labyrinth of his research and back into his own life. A tantalizing yarn of detection and desire, The Biographer’s Tale is a provocative look at “truth” in biography and our perennial quest for certainty.
Angels and Insects
In these breathtaking novellas, A.S. Byatt returns to the territory she explored in Possession: the landscape of Victorian England, where science and spiritualism are both popular manias, and domestic decorum coexists with brutality and perversion. Angels and Insects is "delicate and confidently ironic…. Byatt perfectly blends laughter and sympathy [with] extraordinary sensuality" (San Francisco Examiner).
As the bombs rain down in the Second World War, one young girl is evacuated to the English countryside.
Struggling to make sense of her new wartime life, she is given a copy of a book of ancient Norse myths and her inner and outer worlds are transformed. Linguistically stunning and imaginatively abundant, Byatt's mesmerising tale - inspired by the myth of Ragnarok -is a landmark piece of storytelling from one of the world's truly great writers. The Myths series brings together some of the world's finest writers, each of whom has retold a myth in a contemporary and memorable way.
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