mercredi, août 23, 2006

Lost love and found

If you looked at my profile, you will notice that I list A.S. Byatt's novel "Possession" as one of my favorite books. Thanks in part to the fact that I currently have no religion book to review (yes!!)I've been re-reading the Pulitzer- prize winning novel, sometimes with wonder, sometimes with tears. Yes, this long and sometimes complex novel is a romance focused on 20th century academicians chasing a 19th century mystery, and the textured and lively characters who created the mystery. But it is also about the nature of loss, the ways in which literature can be read and misread, the lenses through which we construe, and misconstrue reality, and the power of belief, religious, scientific and poetic. With all of its pathos, "Possession" is also a very funny book about the academic life and some of the women and men who people it. And, at the end, it is both a tragic and a very hopeful meditation on the possibility of happiness and of lasting love, and of the impossibility of "possessing" a person, or a reputation, or an academic theory. If you like books with neat resolutions, or don't have time to delve deeply into a novel at this point, skip this tome. If you prefer layers, and questions, and depth, and if you are willing to walk through the complexities of Victorian diction and put up with a lot of pompous academicians in pursuit of literary all means, get thee to a bookstore...and prepare to be swept away.

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