book number twelve of 2016 + booker winner 1990: possession [a s byatt].

continuing with my quest to read the booker winners of my lifetime, i recently completed a s byatt’s possession. it was an interesting, albeit long, read, but it was another booker winner that i thought should have been shorter by 200 pages.

possession uncovers the previously unknown relationship between two nineteenth century british poets, leading a group of researchers on an adventure they will never forget. the book gives background on each of the researchers, and it also jumps back-and-forth between the 1850s and mid-80s london, creating a unique reading experience.

overall i liked the story, but i struggled a lot through the middle one-third where i felt it dragged on for a while. there were a lot of characters to keep straight, but their relationships to one another became clearer as the novel progressed. i liked the back-and-forth, although some of the letters and journal entries from the 1850s and 60s were tough to follow at times because of the language. byatt clearly put a lot of thought into constructing those into how they would have been written at the time, but it took me some time to get through them. and even though i know the poetry was central to the story, i struggled with the poems when they appeared. poetry has never been my strong suit, so poems written in victorian england were never going to appeal to me.

what did appeal to me was the mystery and the sense of adventure that byatt imparted throughout the novel. again, i was very intrigued by the story, and i would have really enjoyed possession had it been edited down. that seems to be a running theme with me and booker winners, so i am trying to prepare myself accordingly for the ones yet to come.

my goodreads rating: 3 out of 5 // average rating is 3.87



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