"Literary critics make natural detectives," says Maud Bailey, heroine of a mystery where the clues lurk in university libraries, old letters, and dusty journals. Together with Roland Michell, a fellow academic and accidental sleuth, Maud discovers a love affair between the two Victorian writers the pair has dedicated their lives to studying: Randolph Ash, a literary great long assumed to be a devoted and faithful husband, and Christabel La Motte, a lesser-known "fairy poetess" and chaste spinster. At first, Roland and Maud's discovery threatens only to alter the direction of their research, but as they unearth the truth about the long-forgotten romance, their involvement becomes increasingly urgent and personal. Desperately concealing their purpose from competing researchers, they embark on a journey that pulls each of them from solitude and loneliness, challenges the most basic assumptions they hold about themselves, and uncovers their unique entitlement to the secret of Ash and La Motte's passion. Winner of the 1990 Booker Prize--the U.K.'s highest literary award--Possession is a gripping and compulsively readable novel. A.S. Byatt exquisitely renders a setting rich in detail and texture. Her lush imagery weaves together the dual worlds that appear throughout the novel--the worlds of the mind and the senses, of male and female, of darkness and light, of truth and imagination--into an enchanted and unforgettable tale of love and intrigue.
About the Author
Dame Antonia Susan Duffy, DBE, known as A. S. Byatt (born 24 August 1936, Sheffield) is an English novelist, poet and Booker Prize winner. In 2008, The Times newspaper named her on their list of The 50 greatest British writers since 1945.
Byatt was born as Antonia Susan Drabble, the daughter of John Drabble, QC, and Kathleen Bloor, a scholar of Browning. Byatt was educated at Sheffield High School and the Quaker Mount School, and noted in an interview in 2009 "I am not a Quaker, of course, because I'm anti-Christian and the Quakers are a form of Christianity but their religion is wonderful – you simply sat in silence and listened to the nature of things." She went on to Newnham College, Cambridge, Bryn Mawr in the United States, and Somerville College, Oxford. Sister to novelist Margaret Drabble and art historian Helen Langdon, Byatt lectured in the Department of Extra-Mural Studies of London University (1962–71), the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and from 1972 to 1983 at University College London.