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Chibiabos83
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Joined: 19 Nov 2008
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Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:43 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote

E/V, I'd love to claim both Byatt and Lawson for Cambridge, but although she was there as a student she taught him at the equally august establishment of University College London.

I really must read more Byatt. Possession is the only one I've read, and one of the Matisse Stories. Any recommendations for where to go next? I think The Children's Book sounds rather marvellous, but her whole back catalogue must be full of novels worth trying.


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MikeAlx



Joined: 17 Nov 2008
Posts: 2105


Location: Seaford, East Sussex

PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was a good Guardian Book Club podcast from July last year, with AS Byatt talking to John Mullan, and questions from the floor.

You can listen to it here:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/a...ul/10/as-byatt-guardian-book-club

I listened to a recent one of the same format with Peter Carey, which has made me want to dig out Oscar & Lucinda, which I've never got round to reading.



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Evie
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Location: Kenilworth, Warwickshire, UK

PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Children's Book is marvellous.  My personal favourite is The Virgin in the Garden, and its sequel Still Life is also very good (and was the first Byatt I read, given to me by a friend) - the whole quartet is good, but I think those two are the best.  She is an excellent short story writer too - I liked her Elementals collection, especially the one about the ice princess.  Her back catalogue is not huge - she admitted she writes slowly.

I think you might like Still Life, come to think of it.  I think you might like Daniel, one of the main characters - but I think I'd recommend reading them in order, and Virgin in the Garden is wonderful.

Sorry about the Cambridge error - I knew as I was writing it that it felt wrong - but thanks for putting me right!


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Evie
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike, I thought Oscar and Lucinda was fab - have not really taken to anything else I have read by Peter Carey, but thought that one was wonderful - increasingly so, it has the most amazing ending!


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MikeAlx



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Evie, I've seen the film, so I do know the ending. I recall someone (possibly Caro) used an extract in a Literary Challenge a while back, and I liked the way it was written. My wife read it back in the early 90s, and I'm pretty sure it must be in a box somewhere around here.



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Evie
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh yes, I'd forgotten about the film - I liked the film too, though the book is a lot better (including the ending!).


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Chibiabos83
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The price of The Children's Book (and of Wolf Hall if it comes to that) is very low on a certain website at the moment. Perhaps I can justify a miniature splurge. But I've been doing that a lot lately...


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Ann



Joined: 21 Nov 2008
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Location: Worcestershire

PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wolf Hall is stupendous. I'm still waiting for someone else here to say they have read it.
Yes, Evie, I have read the first two Fredrica books and found them fantastic.
I must give Babel Tower another try. Which was the one with the accidental death in it? I remember the shock when I read it.
Chib I very much liked Angels and Insects by A S Byatt which is really two novellas. The Insects one is particlularly powerful about a Victorian naturalist.


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Green Jay



Joined: 13 Jan 2009
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Location: West Sussex

PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ann wrote:
I have read the first two Fredrica books and found them fantastic.
I must give Babel Tower another try. Which was the one with the accidental death in it? I remember the shock when I read it.


I think that was Still Life. I found it one of the most memorable and troubling novels I've ever read. There just didn't seem to be any consolation in it. I think I've read Babel Tower but I don't recall much of it. Actually, I don't much like the Frederica character, which doesn't help.

I like Angels & Insects too. One half of it was filmed.


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Evie
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, I don't like Frederica much either, though I did find her very interesting; Stephanie, her sister, is a much more sympathetic character.  I think Daniel, the melancholic priest, is a great creation.

I love the books because of the way they incorporate cultural and intellectual issues - the growth of television in the 60s, for example, and also the relationship between art and science (I forget whether it's Babel Tower or Whistling Woman in which one of the characters is researching the sex life of snails).



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