Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Books by Byatt

I was blown away when I read A.S. Byatt's Possession for book club earlier this year. I realized that I'd read her once before - a novella called Morpho Eugenia - and I dimly recalled there being another Byatt novella kicking around the Bradshaw house that I'd yet to peruse.

I'm happy to say that I've found it and read it. Byatt published a book called Angels and Insects which contained two novellas - Morpho Eugenia and The Conjugial Angel. I'd read the first novella, but not the second. I'm happy to report now, though, that both novellas are engaging examples of Byatt's work. She is a contemporary author writing in a very literary style, with loads of allusions, quotations from the canon, and original passages rife with symbolism.

Much like the other Byatt pieces I've read, The Conjugial Angel incorporates many of the themes indicative of the Victorian period - faith and doubt, the rise of naturalism, an interest in spiritualism/seance, the romantic influence, etc. I must add that I actually liked The Conjugial Angel better than Morpho Eugenia, which sports some rather unsavory plot devices. In addition, the story moves along at a good click, and the ending is very satisfying.

Byatt's published a good deal; I will be reading more of her work in the future. If you are interested in a contemporary author who writes books that read like modern classics, check her out.

2 comments:

Sandi said...

Glad to read a positive review of Angels and Insects ... ordered that one recently off paperbackswap.com, and I'm looking forward to reading it!

Nicole Bradshaw said...

If you don't want to wait, I can bring my copy to book club tonight. Hope to see you there!