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The Game [Paperback]

A.S. Byatt
2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 27 1992
Cassandra is an Oxford don; Julia, her sister, a bestselling novelist. They share a set of disturbing memories of a strange childhood game and of Simon, the handsome young neighbour who loved them both. Years later Simon re-enters their lives via a television programme on snakes and intrudes into their uneasy compromise of mutual antagonism and distrust. The old, wild emotions surge back, demanding and urgent, and this time the game is played out to a fatal finsih. Rich in ideas, subtle and exhilarating, The Game is a superb novel.

Product Details

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Vintage continues to reprint works by Byatt, the acclaimed author of Possession : this season brings a novel about two estranged sisters, The Game , and the collection Sugar and Other Stories .
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


"Complex and thoughtful" Times Literary Supplement "One of our finest living novelist, who manages to tease and to satisfy both the intellect and the imagination" Daily Telegraph

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Byatt's best, by a long shot Jan. 22 2002
I think the Ingram reviewer above was on something when he wrote of the "danger" that grew from the sisters' game, and of the "evil man determined to control their thoughts". I didn't get any of that out of _The Game_.
_The Game_ is basically the story of two sisters: Julia, a sociable but shallow novelist who writes about the boredom of domestic life; and Cassandra, a nunlike scholar who hides away from real life in the cloistered world of high academia. The "game" referred to in the title is an imaginary Arthurian world invented by the sisters when they were children, but it has little bearing on the rest of the novel, except in that Cassandra went on to become an Arthurian scholar, and Julia uses it as an example of Cassandra's condescension. It could have been dropped from the plot without much effect, which is sad for me, since the Arthurian element is the biggest reason I wanted to read the book in the first place.
Leaving out Arthur, who is mostly irrelevant anyway, we have Julia and Cassandra, who are just repairing their estranged relationship, when Simon Moffat comes back into their life. Simon was both women's first love; Cassandra adored him from a distance, while Julia slept with him. This triangle was the reason for their estrangement. When he reappears, so do the tensions between the sisters.
_The Game_ failed to engage me; most of the characters were pretty one-dimensional and cold. Cassandra had a few moments of stunning dignity, but she didn't seem real either. A.S. Byatt has gotten much better since.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An engaging read Oct. 5 2001
By A Customer
Although it's some years since I read this excellent book, the reviews thus far in my view, do not do it justice. Many people know of Byatt's writing through her book "Possession" but although this is a fine example of her work, all her writing demonstrates a wonderful story-telling ability, embroidered throughout by her extensive literary and historic knowledge. "The Game" is a very "readable" novel, drawing the reader in as the tale evolves. To over analyze "The Game" is to miss the beauty of the mystery and intrigue; to miss the interplay between the main characters and the complexities of family emotions. "The Game" is a wonderful book for any mystery-loving reader and for anyone who has not already been drawn in by Byatt's writing is an excellent place to begin a reading relationship with her work.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not at all disappointed Aug. 21 2001
By Charles
In contrast to the other reader reviewers, I loved this book. I've not read anything else by the author except for the Matisse stories, which did not hold my attention. I am certainly looking forward to her other novels if this is, to her fans, a second-rate effort.
I find the two lead female characters richly drawn and interesting. The younger is the prototype of a writer who must publish as she wills even though she hurts those dear to her. Her self-knowledge is finally revealed to be nothing but complete self-absorption, in contrast to her pretensions. The older sister, shut off in an arid cell of her own making, is gradually learning to live and accept people again before the final climax.
The philosphical concepts and conflicts which are argued throughout are apropos to the plot and well developed. I enjoyed the book thoroughly.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Jealous and mean-spirited July 29 2001
By A Customer
A.S. Byatt and Margaret Drabble are sisters. This novel was written in 1967, when Drabble (Julia in "The Game"), the younger sister, was more successful than Byatt. Although Cassandra in the novel has ostensibly little in common with Byatt the novelist, the depiction of her jealousy for her more famous sister might be accurate. When Drabble gave a reading of "The Peppered Moth" in Chicago in April, 2001, "The Game" was mentioned in the final question and answer session. Drabble said that after "The Game" was published, Byatt said to her, "I owe you an apology." This book is so hostile towards the Julia figure that I believe Byatt owes Drabble more than an apology. Don't buy this book. Buy and read Drabble's "The Millstone," instead. It's a much kinder and more engaging book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Definitely Not "Possession..." June 3 2001
Like [others], I, too was disappointed somewhat with The Game. In Byatt's other work, her characters seem more fully developed and their problems seem more real. In this work, Julia and Cassandra are superficial actors of a cerebral plot, and because of this I found it difficult to care about what happened to either of them. I thought Byatt's plot had the potential to be quite intriguing; however, it was difficult to understand at times the interplay between what was actually happening in the lives of Julia and Cassandra and how they made those occurrences "real" for one another. I rate this book a 3 because it fades considerably when compared to Byatt's other work, most notably Possession. This is not to say that it is poorly written -- Byatt has a familiar style that carries the reader along quite nicely. The flaws here are a plot that fails to truly engage the reader and characters who do not demand the reader's sympathy.
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