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Tony Grist

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Possession: A.S. Byatt [Jun. 11th, 2012|05:44 pm]
Tony Grist
A Victorian tragic romance folded up inside a modern romantic comedy- rather beautiful and quite extraordinarily clever with all its mirrorings, doublings and post-modern self awareness. If Charlotte Bronte had come after Joyce and Nabokov- instead of so long before them- this is the sort of thing she might have written. 

Just one note of regret: the poems ascribed to the imagined Victorian protagonists don't quite work. They are the simulacra of poems, not really poems at all. Poetry is one thing you can't fake- not even if you are a wonderfully skilled writer of other things. Real poems have an inner life- a certain vitality of language- which these cleverly-crafted pastiche poems almost entirely lack.
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2012-06-11 10:34 pm (UTC)
If Charlotte Bronte had come after Joyce and Nabokov- instead of so long before them- this is the sort of thing she might have written.

I bounced entirely off Possession when I read it in college; I fell in love with her only because I re-read Angels & Insects. rushthatspeaks keeps telling me to try it again for the way Byatt writes the sea.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-06-12 08:00 am (UTC)
I read Elementals a few weeks back. That's full of the most amazing evocations of place and light and weather. I think she's been honing her descriptive skills since writing Possession.
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2012-06-12 08:26 am (UTC)
I read Elementals a few weeks back. That's full of the most amazing evocations of place and light and weather.

I am fond of Elementals—I'm not sure I've managed to find a copy of my own, but I adore "Crocodile Tears" and "Cold" was one of the first things of hers I ever read.

I think she's been honing her descriptive skills since writing Possession.

How did you feel about The Children's Book, which is full of material culture and art?
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