Possession by A.S. Byatt is one of the Top 150 novels of the last century. The story is about a scholar named Roland who, while researching the life of a Victorian poet named Ash, discovers drafts of two letters written in the dead poet’s hand which lead him on a search for what may become a literary bombshell. The draft letters prompt Roland to believe Ash had an affair with a well-known female poet named Lamotte who everyone thought had lived a solitary life.
This is a love story within a story because Roland secretly shares his suspicions with Maude, another academic who has studied Lamotte and her work. The two modern day scholars pool their resources and together, search to uncover the truth behind the draft letters Roland discovered.
There’s much more to the story and a fair amount of intrigue because, if the relationship between the Victorian poets can be verified, others could stand to gain considerably.
I skipped quite a bit of this book which won the Man Booker Award because there are fairy tales and poems interspersed within the text and rather than interesting me, they often made me lose interest. Overall, I enjoyed the then and now plots. I think poets, academic researchers, and writers will especially enjoy this novel. I recommend it.