The Game Paperback – Nov 27 1992
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"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
About the Author
A. S. Byatt is famed for her short fiction, collected in Sugar and Other Stories, The Matisse Stories, and The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye. Her full-length novels include the Booker Prize-winning Possession and the trilogy sequence The Virgin in the Garden, Still Life, and Babel Tower.
Top Customer Reviews
already somewhat familiar with Byatt's style. _The Game_, though its plot is not as complex as _Tower_ per se, is much more rich in many ways. The novel deals intimately with the lives of two sisters (and secondarily, a daughter), and Byatt keeps all her characters in perspective. Though several male characters are in the book, Byatt makes sure the reader knows they are only part of the game the sisters play. This is especially evident when reading two seperate fight scenes: the first is between one sister and her husband, and though it describes violence (hurled furniture, angry shouts) its tone stays amazingly static and aloof. On the other hand, when the same sister and her daughter have an about equally violent fight, the language is much more emotional and gripping. This is just one example of the almost perfect control Byatt has over her words. I would have to say she is one of the best masters of diction and style I have come across yet.
_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.
An unsatisfying exercise interesting only in the context of Byatt's later writings.
Most recent customer reviews
Although it's some years since I read this excellent book, the reviews thus far in my view, do not do it justice. Read morePublished on Oct. 5 2001
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. Read morePublished on Aug. 21 2001 by Charles
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. Read morePublished on July 28 2001