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4.2 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-10 of 11 reviews(1 star). Show all reviews
on February 29, 2000
I have found that this book tends to really draw responses at either end of the spectrum. People either hate it or love it. I hated it. Just as several other readers wrote, I could not get into the characters. It was torturous trying to finish this huge book about people I could not connect with. One other reviewer wrote that this book is for literary intellectual types. Not true. I am what most people would call a literary intellectual type, and I though this book was awful. But, I do know several people who loved it, and if you are the type who finds the ivory tower of academia romantic, then this book is for you. If you would rather read a book that deals with real life, your time will be better spent reading any Alice Munro short story.
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on April 22, 1999
Weak character construction;overwrought prose, Byatt falling victim to the worst symptoms of the romantics without their sometimes redeeming beauty; excesses of self indulgence...enough said? When you find yourself more interested in the possibilities suggested by the academic research than the characters of this work it is a definite sign of worry. It was at this point I gave up on yet another booker winner and satisfied the slight desire Byatt raised by returning to my own dusty student notes on the real romantics and their lifes...even my cribbed notes made for more satisfying depressing if only I had read Possession ten years ago when I was studying English she might of shown me that there were worse things to read than journal articles. So I refrain from swearing about it but this book is a disappointment that might have been better off not being discovered.
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on June 22, 1998
This must be one of the most over-praised, over-rated pieces of "literature" I have read in years. Every word, every page practically screams out at you that this is a novel that is meant to be taken seriously. However, it fails to capture the imagination and is a masterpiece only of tedium and pretension.
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on February 5, 2001
I must admit, I couldn't get past page 50 of this behemoth Booker Prize winner... and thank God! Because nothing I heard during my book group's subsequent discussion of it led me to believe I would have liked the remaining 500 pages. Byatt constructs a somewhat imaginative romance hidden within the poems of two obscure Victorian writers. All very nicely done I suppose, but it was putting me to sleep... Somewhere in the dreadful poems, faux letters, and overwritten prose, there is probably a decent story, however I saw little evidence of it, or of any characters to care about. I doubt I'll be spending any more of my precious time on earth in Byatt's tedious academic settings.
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on July 18, 1999
I was very excited to read this book after being taken in by the book jacket but finally gave up after getting to page 150. I desperately wanted to like this book, and finish it. Although, I found aspects of the book intriguing (the letters) and the writing was very descriptive, the story dragged. I was going to stop around page 75 but forced myself to continue. There are much better books out there like "The Sun Also Rises"-Hemingway.
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on January 17, 2000
A.S. Byatt is obviously a gifted writer and intellectual. I enjoyed her ability to convincingly write in the "voice" and varied style of her different authors. My problem is that I could care less about any of her characters and the development was painful and slow. I am sorry to say that this book is clearly for those literary intellectuals. Not for everyone. My blessing to those who love it.
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An amazingly boring book about obscure, tedious Victorian poets and the obscure, tedious modern-day academics who study them. As parody, it is about 500 pages too long. The author is apparently paid by the word. Life is too short to waste on this book. Read "The French Lieutenant's Woman" if you want a juxtapostion of Victorian and modern times. Unlike this book it's actually engaging.
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on August 6, 1998
one should not have to work so hard to bring the characters and story to that special place in our imaginations where it's all brought to life.....dull, faux-characters.......poetry for the sake of filling pages with words.......tiresome...
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on March 7, 2002
This is one of the most tedious books I have ever read, from the painstaking reproduction of turgid Victorian poetry to the unbelievably bad and predictable Scooby-Doo ending (A-ha! I knew it was the Professor under the mask all along!) Hundreds of pages of writing, and yet the characters remain caricatures throughout (what do they like? do they have interesting opinions about anything? what do they do when they aren't squabbling with each other?) I cannot recall one compelling sentence in the entire book. It's like trying to chew dust.
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on March 10, 1997
Read this on our trip to Florida. This book was like the trip: long and tedious
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