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A.S. Byatt

(1936- )
A.S. Byatt is the pseudonym of Dame Antonia Susan Duffy, who was born and grew up in Sheffield, England. Byatt was educated at Oxford and Cambridge. In 1990, her novel Possession won the Man Booker Prize. In addition to nine other novels, she has published several collections of short stories, including The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye and Elementals; Stories of Fire and Ice, and won numerous awards. For more information about this author, visit A.S. Byatt’s website.

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Possession: A Romance

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Possession: A Romance by A.S. Byatt

[In our Edge of the Universe column, we review mainstream authors that incorporate elements of speculative fiction into their “literary” work. However you want to label them, we hope you’ll enjoy discussing these books with us.]

An historical mystery, a bittersweet love story, an exploration of myths and fairytales, a tribute to the power of books, and a beautiful, delicate style of prose all makes A.S. Byatt’s Possession: A Romance an intriguing, rewarding, immensely enjoyable read.

Roland Michell is a research assistant for Professor Blackadder, the self-proclaimed expert on all matters concerning the Victorian poet: Randolph Henry Ash. Whilst thumbing through one of Ash’s old book... Read More

The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye: A great way to spend a frosty evening

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The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye by A.S. Byatt

[At The Edge of the Universe, we review mainstream authors that incorporate elements of speculative fiction into their “literary” work. However you want to label them, we hope you’ll enjoy discussing these books with us. Today we have two reviews of A.S. Byatt's The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye.]

The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye is a collection of five stories, or more accurately, four stories and a novella, since the title story is actually quite long; it takes up half the book.

First we have "The Glass Coffin," which is excerpted from Byatt’s stellar novel Possession. It's a fairly standard princess-rescuing sort of fairy tale, starring a young man who chooses adventure over good sense, a... Read More

The Children’s Book: Dense, complex, ambitious, challenging

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The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt

This is an immensely difficult book to review, simply because the vast majority of casual readers probably won't automatically enjoy The Children's Book. It is a dense, complex, ambitious, challenging novel that is not so much a story as it is a detailed portrait of a family, a community and an era. Stretching from 1895 to 1919 and set predominantly in the Kent countryside, A.S. Byatt's saga contains no central character or predominant plotline; instead it chronicles the historical, cultural and social context of the Victorian/Edwardian period and the effect it has on three families and their assorted associates.

Humphrey and Olive Wellwood live in an idyllic cottage called Todefright, where they host midsummer parties and watch as their brood of children (with special emphasis on their two eldest, Tom... Read More