I decided to pick this novel off my shelves as we were heading off to France on our yearly constitutional and I knew that our time there would entail more than a little poolside-reading, and what better opportunity does one get to enjoy a long, literary novel? The fact that it had won the Booker Prize also appealed, and so, chilled glass of vino in hand, I spend some happy hours reading Possession: A Romance.

Possession by A. S. Byatt

The narrative switches between historical and comtemporary stories, linked by a series of literary manuscripts which are discovered by the contemporary characters. Thus we find poetry, love letters and manuscripts interwoven with the narrative. As the title suggests, the novel explores the theme of possession in different guises: in what ways does an artist posses their own work? In what ways do those who come after them posses  the manuscripts or artifacts which they treasure? And in what sense does a biographer posses (or become possed by) their subject?

As well as exploring these and other themes, A. S. Byatt also manages to keep up a compelling narrative, which does compell you to keep turning the page. Rich, thought-provoking and enjoyable.

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