Let me preface this by saying that I like LONG books. 25-, 30-, 50-hour stories are a delight - as long as they can hold my attention, and most do. But "Possession" didn't. Not from the start. Not by the mid point of the first part - or the second part. I finally just skipped to the third and last part just to find out that the thinly disguised plot turned out just as I had suspected; no surprises there, either. The premise was interesting - Victorian setting, seances, unusual characters, etc - but it was the prose - THE PROSE - THE ONGOING, EVERLASTING PROSE! that did me in. 75% of this 'novel' is simply poetry without rhyme, and it takes a very long time for the author to get around to actually telling the story. Don't get me wrong! I like poetry - in reasonable-sized doses. I also like very descriptive novels, since that is, after all, what writing is all about. But this went way over the top for me. Not only are you lulled by the drone of the 'literature', but you can't seem to get very interested in the characters. They seem rather wishy-washy (which may be the very point), and you just wish someone would come along, kick them in the pants and tell them to 'get over it' and get on with the story!!! Yes,the prose was beautiful; the author truly is gifted and writes the most delicious descriptive phrases, drawing precise pictures in your mind with a few deftly chosen words. If this is your 'cup of tea' (since the book is set in the UK), you're going to love it. If you want plot, action, excitement, switch-backs and 'I never saw THAT coming' - choose another looooong book.
This book has a style and characters that are not that exciting to me, but would probably be to someone else. The characters like libraries and manuscripts and probably (it's been a while since I read it),a spot of hot tea to really make the world right. It was all very into the joys and nail-biting of academia, if that's what you like, with an extra teaspoon of fuss-budget. The characters seem a little geriatric for as young as they're supposed to be. Some books of this genre really work for me (give me Jane Austen and yes, some Earl Grey),and I wish this could have been one. (The Historian by E. Kostova was good, too).
I would definitely try another by Virginia Leishman. With the exception of her American accent, all the regional British and Scottish accents were very good. The American accent sounded vaguely southern, despite the fact that Cropper was from New Mexico. I figured that was the best she could do, and it wasn't too terrible. I have definitely heard worse.
As for Ms. Byatt, I would need some really strong recommendation to read her again. At its core, this book has some intriguing characters, an interesting story, and a satisfying ending. But the journey was not enjoyable. I found much the writing somewhat tedious, and I debated whether or not I would actually finish. I'm glad I did, and I'm actually looking forward to the movie, which may "cut to the chase" and be a bit more satisfying.
Yuck. A.S. Byatt is a total dullard. Boring, dry characters and a stuffy British narrator made this book impossible to get interested in. Not recommended.
There are two big mistakes in this reading. There is NOTHING in the background of the character of Mortimer Cropper that suggests he should have a southern accent. He's an academic from New Mexico who happens to be rich. He's not a plantation owner or even a wealthy businessman from the south. Having a grandparent from Mississippi would not account for the southern drawl he's been given either. It's very, very annoying to listen to him whenever his character shows up.
Also as a literary person he would know that Swedenborg is not pronounced
Except for the two things I've mentioned I thought the narration was excellent. There was sufficient change in the voices to distinguish the different characters and the acting was very good. I would be happy to listen to another audio book by that reader.
brilliant story, beautiful prose and then there is the poetry, to say nothing of the dog.
This is a mesmerizing novel, beautifully written and beautifully narrated. The story just won't let you go - you have to know what happened to these characters - both the ones in the past and ones living in the present day. I'm sorry this novel is over.