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  1. This is the story of children and their families growing up through late-Victorian, Edwardian times: The liberal Wellwoods, who espouse Fabian values, whilst not listening to (or even noticing!) their own kids and whose loose morals and lack of honesty with their children have difficult consequences later on; the Fludds, led by artistic Benedict, creative when manic, impossible when depressed, abusive of his daughters and heedless of his loveless marriage; the Cains, widowed Prosper with his 2 children - a kinder portrait of an intelligent, perceptive and loving father, but still one caught in the strictures of the time and unable to fully communicate. The story's canvas begins narrowly in the Kent Weald and widens progressively both geographically and historically to discuss suffragism, many philosophical ideas, politics and religion. Each of the Wellwood children has their own book, written by their storyteller mother, Olive, but the title of the book is well chosen as the children are the focus of the book, rather than their, often hapless, parents. I hadn't read any Byatt for ages, but have enjoyed things in the past. This is quintessentially Byatt: a mixture of a complex and engaging story, with long passages of history interwoven. I loved the saga of the families, but found some of the historical passages overly erudite. It felt a bit like she had done the research and was determined to get in the information at all costs - and, in my view, at a cost to the flow of the story. I can admire the author's erudition without necessarily enjoying it. I am a terrible judge of what is likely to win the Booker, but wonder if the judges will go for something more timely. ZebraMc
  2. This was on my Top Ten list, and I noticed that it cropped up on a number of other people's lists too. Why do you love it - if you listed it? Anyone out there hate it - and why? My guilty secret is that though I love the book, I always say, "This time I read it, I'm really, really going to read all the poems, too" - but I always end up skipping them I love the way the two time frames are intertwined, and the combination of romance and detective story. I love the two modern day academics grow together, from such an unlikely start. Writing this is making me want to rush off and reread it! Though I love this, I haven't read much else by A S Byatt - what else is worth a try??
  3. Flingo 4th January 2006 10:47 PM ...so far. I can really relate to this from Chapter 6: [Cropper] arrived, reasonably satisfied, at Barratt's Hotel, which he had chosen partly for its comfort, but more because American writers, visiting Ash, had stayed there in the past. I would certainly choose one location over another if I felt it had significant literary connections! Cathy 7th January 2006 01:49 PM How about Val saying 'Oh its all very interesting, my menial keyhole observations, make no mistake. Just it doesn't make sense and it leaves me nowehere' *shiver* too true!
  4. I know this is from another thread but I cannot find Possession at all under the group reads and if we ever find it, it can be moved there. Anyway, here's the rescued thread: Meanings of Names Momo 10th January 2006 10:52 PM Meanings of Names Okay, I promised Cathy ages ago to look through my notes from our earlier discussion and post the meaning of the names some of us found. I have spoilered the notes since I don't know where everyone is. Any other ideas? ------------------------------------------------- Cathy 11th January 2006 02:59 PM Thank you Momo! That's fantastic. Is the meaning of Wolf from Randolph from the word or from what happens in the novel? The dual nature as shield/wolf is really interesting. Just in case: ------------------------------------------------- Momo 12th January 2006 03:57 PM Yes, that was it. As I said, I couldn't find anything about ash and the meaning etc. but I did remember we talked about it. ------------------------------------------------- Cathy 12th January 2006 04:11 PM I think you're spot on. She calls him a 'dragon' in some of the letters. Also ------------------------------------------------- greg 2nd August 2006 11:40 AM Link between Maud & Christabel's surnames ------------------------------------------------- megustaleer 2nd August 2006 09:44 PM Thanks for that, greg, and welcome to BGO. Possession was a very popular book, and it's good to open up he discussion again. I'm sure there are members reading it who have joined since it was our bookgroup choice, and some folks ready to read it again. Do let us know a little about yourself and your reading tastes by posting in the introductions thread in Central Library. ------------------------------------------------- greg 3rd August 2006 09:02 AM Ah, Megustaleer, I've just realised that I repeated you - you commented on Motte & Bailey castles in the "poll" thread. My apologies. greg ------------------------------------------------- megustaleer 3rd August 2006 10:23 AM No problem, it's easy to miss a comment when discussion ranges over several threads!
  5. Rescued Thread Flingo 3rd March 2006 03:43 PM I have just seen that in past book groups there has been a poll at the end to guage overall feeling. Although I suspect there will be a resounding "Excellent" I would be interested in seeing how you vote. (Hope no-one minds me doing this - sorry if I am stepping on your toes). elfstar 3rd March 2006 04:08 PM I am glad to see this although I think you are right in how it will be judged. I was nothing like as enthralled by it as I expected to be and have found the other discussions rather intense. Tess 3rd March 2006 04:36 PM An 'indifferent' for me. The basis of the story was excellent but I just found it a chore to get through and the poetry nearly finished me off! Momo 3rd March 2006 09:39 PM I've already read it three times and my paperback is falling to pieces. So I have decided that I need another copy - something I hardly ever do. Therefore, I am sure you can guess my vote! Cathy 4th March 2006 08:59 PM Its so nerve-racking when something you love is up for public debate! But I'm glad some of you liked it and I'm sorry some of you didn't! Thumbsucker 5th March 2006 09:54 AM I thought the book was very good. It's one of those where you read in awe of the author. All those subtle links and metaphors. I, like some of you, struggled with the poetry. It wasn't that I found it boring, just that I knew that was so much in it. Perhaps that's why I couldn't give it an excellent. It's no reflection on the novel but more on the sort of reader I am. I fall into the 'so many books so little time, can't possibly reread one' camp. This is a book that needs to be reread and revisited and perhaps if my attitude to reading changes I will come back to it. The story has stayed with me though and I'm glad that it was a group read because I don't think that I would have read it otherwise. Claire 5th March 2006 08:13 PM Excellent, without a shadow of a doubt. This is my third or fourth reading, and the first time I've properly read the poetry, rather than skimming it and I'm glad I finally did that, it added an extra layer to the story, which I enjoyed. MarkC 9th March 2006 11:41 AM First reading for me. I loved it, although I did skim the poetry as I found that hard going. Momo 9th March 2006 05:40 PM I think most of us did that at our first read, there's just too much to think about. But - even though I'm not a great poetry friend, I read and really enjoyed it the second time around. Seraphina 10th April 2006 12:23 PM I have just read this, inspired by Cathy's enthusiasm about it and I wasn't disappointed. I have to admit I hit a wall at the beginning of the first set of letters between Christabel and Ash, and actually went off and read something else in the meantime, but once I got on a roll and got through the first part of the letters I ended up really enjoying them as they got more and more personal. Like others I found the poetry hardgoing, particularly as I was reading it mostly on the tube in dribs and drabs which doesn't really help! I intend on buying my own copy (as I'm sure Cathy will want hers returned!) and giving it a more concentrated reading in perhaps a few months' time. I loved the way it all linked up together, although I did find the ending a little too 'neat' - however I'm hard to please in that respect as I don't like endings that feel 'unfinished' either! I was getting quite frustrated that I also liked the way we as the reader know more than the scholars, and so when they feel as if they have everything figured out we can feel almost superior, although i did find it hard to keep track of what we knew and what THEY knew! belwebb 16th June 2006 05:30 PM It took some work for me to 'get into' at the beginning, and then at one point I was enjoying the letters, but then, about a third of the way through I just lost interest - just like that. I found it a bit too dense - which is no surprise from Byatt, but then it wasn't something I had personally chosen to read - it was on my Post War Novel module in my second year! megustaleer 17th June 2006 11:48 AM Perhaps you'll be tempted to try it again if you read all the enthusiastic comments in these threads
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