Tuesday, February 16, 2016

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros Possession by A.S. Byatt

Happy Tuesday! I am taking part in First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea, where bloggers share a bit about what they're reading or planning to read soon.

I've been looking at Possession on my shelf for awhile. I came across the novel a few years ago at a book sale. From what I've read about Possession by A.S. Byatt (1990), people seem to either absolutely love the book or cannot stand it. This kind of intrigues me.

The opening:

"The book was thick and black and covered with dust. Its boards were bowed and creaking; it had been maltreated in its own time. Its spine was missing, or, rather, protruded from amongst the leaves like a bulky marker. It was bandaged about and about with dirty white tape, tied in a neat bow. The librarian handed it to Roland Mitchell, who was sitting waiting for it in the Reading Room of the London Library. It had been exhumed from Locked Safe no. 5, where it usually stood between Pranks of Priapus and The Grecian Way of Love. It was ten in the morning, one day in September 1986. Roland had the small single table he liked best, behind a square pillar, with the clock over the fireplace, nevertheless in full view. To his right was a high sunny window, through which you could see the high green leaves of St. James's Square."

From the back cover:

"Winner of England's Booker Prize and the literary sensation of the year, Possession is an exhilarating novel of wit and romance, at once an intellectual mystery and a triumphant love story. It is the tale of a pair of young scholars researching the lives of two Victorian poets. As they uncover their letters, journals, and poems, and track their movements from London to Yorkshire--from spiritualist seances to the fairy-haunted far west of Brittany--what emerges is an extraordinary counterpoint of passions and ideas."

What do you think? Would you keep reading?


  1. I am intrigued by the description of Roland in the Reading Room. He seems to be a man of very specific habits, and I am always drawn in by these little compulsive ways. Thanks for sharing.

    Here's mine: “THE SHADOW YEAR”

  2. Yes, I would and have owned this book more than once. Never read it. I'm intrigued by 'locked safe no. 5'. What kind of book would have to be in a locked safe? LOL

  3. I'm intrigued although with reservations as I've heard polarised views on this author!

  4. The opening grabbed the librarian in me. I'm adding this book to my list.

  5. Can you believe that I bought this book twice and donated both copies unread? Yet, I'm intrigued once again.

  6. I liked the movie, but I've never made it through the book. I hope you do, though. Let us know! :)

  7. Yes, I'm curious about that book! I have this one in my TBR stack.

  8. Oh, I've had this one sitting on my shelves for several years now.....I can't believe I haven't read it yet! This author has a great literary reputation, and this story is obviously beautifully crafted. I can tell from the quote you've presented. Byatt almost makes the poor old book seem alive! Of course I would keep on reading! Heck I know I need to start...ha ha! Thanks for sharing!

    Thanks as well for stopping by and commenting on my own "First Chapter First Paragraph" post!! :)