Where I, a person with no legitimate literary qualifications, pass my judgement on books I read.
Written by A.S. Byatt
The story begins with a literary researcher finding drafts of a letter written by Randolph Henry Ash to Christabel LaMotte (both fictional victorian era poets) who are not known to have had any correspondence with each other, giving a chance to our protagonist, Roland Mitchell, to go hunting for a love affair from the past.
What I thought:
This novel arrived at my doorstep much as the lead character in the book found those letters – mere chance. Perhaps it was the universe’s conspiracy, because judging by its cover, its name, and the fact that it describes itself as ‘romance’ I would have never picked up this book myself. But I randomly signed up for a book gifting chain, and this one came from a stranger with a sweet note. I decided to read it after all because the cover said ‘Booker Prize Winner’.
Things you should know:
It won the 1990 Booker Prize. The novel was adapted as a feature film by the same name in 2002, and a serialised radio play that ran from 2011–2012 on BBC Radio 4. In 2005 Time Magazine included the novel in its list of 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005. In 2003 the novel was listed on the BBC’s survey The Big Read.
Who should read this:
- Literary enthusiasts: If you want an insight into how the academia works (or worked). Or want a peek into the life of people who made reading stuff their career (sigh)
- If you are ticking off the Booker bucket list
- If you seriously are the type for whom good english is a turn on 😉
Who should not read this:
- Unseasoned readers: If you are still trying to build a reading habit, this one is going to put you off for ever. Give yourself at least 5 years to get used to novels before you reach for this one.
- If you are looking for ‘romance’ as in girl loves boy and they kiss and ‘make love’ and live happily ever after – this isn’t that kind of a book. Move on.