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Still Life Paperback – Jun 24 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books (June 24 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099479915
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099479918
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 422 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #425,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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4.3 out of 5 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Martha E. Nelson on Aug. 7 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a book that made me want to look at paintings. That statement probably won't make any sense to someone who has not read the parts of A.S. Byatt's writing that are so gloriously detailed and visual, but this made me want to go to museums and really really look at Impressionist paintings.
I should also, probably more helpfully, say that this is a grand story of an English family in the 1950s--ultimately quite sad, but very insightful and socially and personally conscious. You really love the characters in all their complexity by the end of this. One of the other reviewers commented on a section that dealt with pregnancy and birth in the national health system of England--ironically an experience my mother describes in very similar detail from her pregnancy with me. I also found that section deeply moving.
This is a sequal to The Virgin in the Garden, which is ambitious and harder to read. The characters here have grown and are much more sympathetic and human. You care very deeply for them.
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Format: Paperback
I read Still Life two years ago, I found it in a horrid little used book store on West Main Street, the type that pile books on top of books instead of using walls. The inside first page says, from mom and pop on Christmas Day. "You don't celebrate Christmas!" shreiked my friend, no, I don't - but apparently I still receive great gifts. Thanks mom and pop, Still Life is a masterpiece of words.
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Format: Paperback
Still Life is the second of A.S. Byatt's sequenced novels that begin with The Virgin In the Garden. The novel continues to chronicle the Potter clan in the late 1950s. Can you dive into the second without having read the first? Probably. In the early part of Still Life, Byatt provides just enough background to situate the characters. Of course, "just enough" will never be the same as reading the first novel.
Still Life reads differently from The Virgin in the Garden, the author less obssessed with moment-to-moment reporting through painstakingly-gathered details. It is more sprawling, emphasizing characters' growth over a wider span of time (relatively speaking). What hasn't changed is Byatt's love for and mastery of language, and concern for the life of the mind. The novel contains many passages where Byatt boldly, and almost intrusively, airs her provocative views on everything from writing, visual perception, love, to politics (i.e. delivered in the authorial first person instead of through a character's mouth or mind). But she is also an astute observer of the ordinary, whether depicting childbirth, adultery, or domestic vignettes. There's something for everyone here. The final section is a shocker. I finished the book not quite convinced that a freak accident belongs in a literary novel. All the same, be prepared to read some moving passages on grieving.
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