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NOVEL: Possession

AUTHOR: A.S. Byatt



I unabashedly adore this book, not least because it’s such an usual combination: a very literary novel (in which two young 20th century academics investigate a possible relationship between two Victorian poets) and at the same time, a page-turning thriller.

When I first read this I stayed up until the wee hours to finish it, despite having an early morning planned for the next day. Rather fortunately, it has an extremely satisfying ending. (Any sleep deprivation was absolutely worth it.)


I now only wish I could go back and read it again for the first time (and I’d take my time with it and savor the poetry, had I another chance).


I do have some criticisms: the American characters here aren’t named like Americans (and don’t sound particularly like Americans, either).

There’s a plot hole: a rival academic, Fergus, shows up to make trouble, then drops entirely out of the narrative. No matter.

Overall, its erudition, its love of language, its joy, its wit, its romance, and its ambition rule the day. Those who love reading, love texts, and love life…do read this book.


RATING (one to five whistles, with five being the best): 5 Whistles





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What If?, Randall Munroe

Up At The Villa, W. Somerset Maugham


Lead-In Image: The Beguiling Of Merlin, Edward Burne-Jones, Lady Lever Art Gallery


Laura LaVelle is an attorney and writer who lives in Connecticut, in a not quite 100-year-old house, along with her husband, two daughters, and a cockatiel.

Laura can be contacted at laura@newswhistle.com