• Possession

  • A Romance
  • By: A. S. Byatt
  • Narrated by: Samuel West
  • Length: 21 hrs and 52 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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Possession  By  cover art

Possession

By: A. S. Byatt
Narrated by: Samuel West
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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Booker Prize 1990

Possession is an exhilarating novel of wit and romance, at once a literary detective novel and a triumphant love story. It is the tale of a pair of young scholars investigating the lives of two Victorian poets. 

Following a trail of letters, journals and poems they uncover a web of passion, deceit and tragedy, and their quest becomes a battle against time. 

Cover illustration © Aitch.

©1991 A. S. Byatt (P)2019 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about Possession

Average Customer Ratings
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Profile Image for Falluntilyoufly
  • Falluntilyoufly
  • 04-19-19

Great book made greater by superb performance

Halfway through and completely in love. I don't want this to end!

Possession is the book in which AS Byatt's writing met its match in her choice of subject, inviting a reader to consider the delicious wordplay in the concept of 'literary novel'. It's the playful, thoughtful and wholly delightful work of a writer at the height of her powers. The language in particular invites you to revel in its fluency across a breathtaking range and depth of style and subject matter; entirely appropriate to the story of the romance between two Victorian writers transformed into a detective story by two latter-day literary scholars.

As for Samuel West's performance, if I could give it more than 5 stars, I would. This is pitch-perfect delivery in every possible way: not only the obvious basics of consistent characterisation, attention paid to inflection, etc, but there's a level of nuance in his performance that brings every last glory of Byatt's prose utterly, ravishingly, alive. The first time it's ever crossed my mind to think of audiobooks as their own separate art form... I loved Possession as a book, but if possible I love it even more as Samuel West's performance of it. I'll definitely be looking for more books performed by him.

41 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-17-19

Spellbinding

A book I have always loved . And this production more than does it justice . The reading was pitch perfect .

20 people found this helpful

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  • Anon
  • 08-05-19

Brilliant

I read this book when it first came out and thought that it was incredible. Multi- layered, beautifully written and wholly engrossing. I intended to re-read one day but have now listened instead.

Enough time has passed for me to have forgotten much of the detail of the story which made it fresh and just as absorbing the second time around.

Sam West’s reading is superb. One is never in doubt as to which character is speaking and the intelligence of the reading adds another layer of enjoyment.

I can’t recommend this audiobook enough!

16 people found this helpful

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  • Suzanne Spooner
  • 03-01-20

Death by poetry - should have been half as long!

I found this book very frustrating. I would have stopped listening if I wasn’t so stubborn. There’s far too much meandering Victorian poetry which didn’t say much & drove me mad - but had the unexpected bonus of being quite handy to get me to sleep when insomnia struck. There were elements of the story that were really good. I suspect that if the book had been much shorter without so many poems & letters then I would have really liked it.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Sketching on the run
  • 10-05-19

Stunning

One of the best books I’ve ever read.This book has so many rich layers of narrative .The ending is perfect . Simply stunning.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Marvellous Maud
  • 07-02-19

Tedious

I had to give up, despite valiant efforts. This was excruciatingly boring and very difficult to delve into. Me. West read it beautifully but his performance could not compensate for the dreariness of the slow plot. Disappointing in the extreme .

14 people found this helpful

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  • Andrew Wood
  • 12-02-19

Better than I remember

This is a complete treat, wonderful. I have read and re-read the book many times so was delighted to find it as an audiobook. The performance by Samuel West is amazing, he voices the characters brilliantly.

It is a compelling story, beautifully told and even better as an audiobook. I cannot recommend it enough.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Jessica, London
  • 04-14-19

Couldn’t get into this very easily

I found this a bit of an effort and felt the story could have been a lot shorter. The basic plot is great, but there is so much in it beside the plot and these other things didn’t really add a lot of value for me personally. I wished that so much time wasn’t spent on things other than the plot.

12 people found this helpful

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  • T. Greb
  • 06-21-19

Mostly enjoyed it

A good read, but got repressive and long winded at the end. Most of all I loved the side stories, the poems and retold fairy tales, just for these is worth a read.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Tsarina
  • 09-30-19

Samuel West is perfect...

... for narrating/ acting Possession. There are beautiful moments in this book of superlative writing, but I've always felt it goes on a bit. When I read it I skipped pages but I don't skip Samuel West's narration. Recommended.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-12-19

Possession

I love this book. I read it 20 years ago and it is still as compelling. A fantastic book

4 people found this helpful

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  • charlotte
  • 08-03-19

Obsessive

Had I read this book myself I would not have continued. As I listened, however, I was drawn in and could not put it away until I heard the end.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-27-22

excellent

both the book and the delivery are so very well done, both. a high bar for audiobooks.

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  • Charis Messalina
  • 05-24-22

Possessed of greatness

This is a truly marvellous performance of a work of intense depth and beauty - my very favourite 20th-century novel.

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  • Mr David G Young
  • 04-13-22

A magnificent achievement

An enthralling story from an unlikely subject suffused with amazing writing and scholarship. The reading by Samuel West is of the very highest quality, bringing it to life.

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  • virginia w.
  • 09-07-21

Possession by A. S. Byatt

I should like Samuel West to know that I found his reading nuanced and very fine.
Possession is an extraordinarily accomplished novel.
The whole experience was a thought-provoking joy.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-01-21

Simply Extraordinary

I listened to it twice through. A work of literary genius brilliantly read and communicated by Samuel West. I listened and re-listened while painting my house and it was one of the most enjoyable weeks of my life. I want more time off work to do more house painting so I can re listen again. This novel is so ambitious, and so expertly rendered you dont realize you are engaged in a work of fiction, It feels like participating in uncovering the most interesting, revolutionary, romantic, historical mystery. I'm awe struck.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 05-05-21

Beautifully written but dull

I struggled to get through this one. The writing was lovely but the story itself was a bit dull, so Ioften found my mind wandering when I was listening.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-14-21

Baffling

Baffling because I closed it and sought to return within a few chapters. The language and the poetry... annoying. A while later I persevered, still disliked the oratory nature of the prose and found annoying the jumps from so varied points of view. It cannot be 'light listening', one must be immersed. Only then is it magnificent and pulls you under.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 07-13-20

My review of Possession.

A haunting novel, beautifully written. easy to see why it won the Booker Prize for 1990.