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Babel Tower Paperback – Oct 10 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 670 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books (Oct. 10 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099839407
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099839408
  • Product Dimensions: 4.7 x 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 558 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #446,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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3.8 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
When people talk about Byatt, they tend to dwell on her academicism, on her allusions and quotes, on her historicism. But if this were all there were to Byatt, no one would read her. What makes Byatt a wonderful writer is that she has a tremendous sense of how the world works, how situations and relationships that seemed promising slowly unravel, how smart people can do stupid things, and how things and people who at first seem hopeless can wind up being wonderful. She understands process, and she understands complexity.
Babel Tower is about how people devoted to the life of the mind can survive in a society which is hostile to that life. Much of the book is taken up with trials, because a major character in this book is "society", which may be personified by juries, by expert witnesses, by journalists. Her character, Frederica, escapes from a marriage which first stultifies her mind, and then threatens to kill her. On a meagre living, she constructs a life and a support system that will give her young son what he needs, mentally and physically. But her husband is wealthy, and what he offers the boy seems superficially more wholesome, so in the trials for divorce and custody, Frederica is judged essentially for her surface, for what her life looks like from the outside.
In a parallel subplot, the writer Jude Mason has written a book that is judged for obscenity. But Mason wrote it as a moral book which tells the lessons he has learned in life. He is a vagrant. He was sexually abused in childhood. He understands how people torture those they love. In the book's obscenity trial, Mason, his neuroses, his appearance, and his intentions are judged and condemned; when his book is banned, he himself is banned.
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By A Customer on March 4 2002
Format: Paperback
This novel focuses on Frederica Potter's attempt to regain her autonomy after a stifling marriage and Jude Mason's "pornographic" novel and the trial against it. The relationship between these two stories is strained, and neither is especially compelling.
Frederica's position in life is one that many readers can, and want to identify with. In many ways, however, Byatt is not successful in making Frederica an appealing character. She is smart, but not emotional, and her rebellion lacks self-awareness. She seems to neither know nor care how her various relationships with men will be viewed by the outside world. Her love for her son Leo does appear to be genuine, but overall, she comes across as selfish rather than heroic or brave.
Jude Mason's story of an utopia gone wrong is not particularity original and the flowery language keeps the reader at distance. The connection between Mason and Frederica does not become apparent until over half way through the book, but which point the reader has either missed important information or has decided she/he doesn't care. Mason's character is not fully explored, such as his relationship to Daniel and the phone center, further weakening this section of the novel.
Overall, this is not Byatt's strongest work. It is not a unique story and is not particularly well told.
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Format: Paperback
Psyched Fugitive
Reflections on Byatt A.S's work ---Babel Tower
The huge book with the cover of 'Sade' cluttered with a motely of trans-human figures opens eerily, as one traverses through the translyvanian pages.
The opening isn't daunting anymore; the lamb bleats in the silence of an ordinary setting that starts of the story.
The thread idylic in discourse is a beginning so mellow and placid- the threads, rummage, pilferand plunder themselves to a scavenging in a myriad of narratives, arched in differences but seemingly in themselves to a oneness that wants to be called source.
The sheer beauty of each word in prose and poetry, lulls the reader to stay captivated and confused, trying hard to pierce the damoclian tips gorging itself in moments but does not, as the looking seems to be glasses many in oblivion.
The vison of cambridge hangs heavily on Fredirica, knitting the fabric of a cloak that is replusive to commerce, subversive in its attachment to the stratified part of the status called culture. The boorish Nigel and the intelllectual Fredrica are chaotically brought to a oneness of the body flowing in a wave of juices. The drying out is constant in wearying out of the body with the intellect in personas unreconciled. The minds and bodies weren't forced to attraction but attracted as unlike forces repeling like ones.
Semiotic underpinning of Nietzsche's theology -'Death Of God' is an excorsist translated into the existential of "Birth Of the Body"; The "Birth Of the Body" weaves through the penelopian folds of the labile, circumambulating into Sade's garden of mid-wifery.
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Format: Paperback
As with all of A. S. Byatt's books, this is a tour de force, provoking strong reactions and emotions from most readers. There are very moving parts of this book, mostly addressing Frederica's relationship with her young son, and some dealing with her ambivalence to her abusive husband. I also think this is a very strong reflection of English society in the early 60s, with all of its complexity and contradictions.
However, I did not have the overall strong personal reaction to Frederica here that I do to other Byatt heroines. I guess I have always found Frederica difficult, through all three of the books centering on her, and this doesn't help me resolve my ambivalence. (I also suspect that we are supposed to be somewhat ambivalent towayr her as a character, so this is probably very successful on Byatt's part!)
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