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Angels and Insects
by A.S. Byatt

To:                ALL                   Date:    03/28
From:   FAVB99B    JANE NIEMEIER         Time:     9:36 PM

ANGELS AND INSECTS by A.S. BYATT                            
In the April issue of Architectural Digest there is         
an interesting article about A.S.B.'s development           
of this novella and her subsequent work on the              
film.  Since I loved both the book and the movie, I         
thought I would post a little of the article to whet        
your appetites.                                             
"In the 1980's I had an idea for a fierce Darwinian         
Gothic historical tale about insects, insect hunters        
and human and insect societies.  My interest in             
natural history in the nineteenth century had               
begun with George Eliot herself, with her                   
metaphors from coral and sea mollusks, her                  
interest in what her partner, George Henry Lewes,           
saw through his microscope, studying marine life.           
She was interested in theories of "development" in          
animals and societies before Darwin published               
ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES.  I myself have                    
had an obsession with the social insects for a long         
time - they cooperate, they are altruistic, they are        
frightening in the rigidity of their social structures.     
We use them as metaphors for ourselves but do               
not understand them.  I had an idea of a film that          
would peer at a formicary or a beehive and at the           
swarming group life of a Victorian household,               
making the queen ant the same size as the                   
indolent lady on her couch.  It would be like ALICE         
IN WONDERLAND with huge caterpillars and                    
shrinking children.  I remembered the white                 
honeycombs of Gothic tracery glimpsed at Arbury             
Hall, and I started thinking about scurrying                
servants in honeycombs of corridors, or scurrying           
female worker ants carrying honeydew and                    
I am a fan of Ms. Byatt, because all of the works           
that I have read have so many layers to think               
about.  Have most of you read POSSESSION, or                
should I put it on the next reading list?  Jane in          
almost springlike Colorado.                                 

===============   Reply    1 of Note   10 =================

To: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Date: 04/16 From: KWWP63A SARA SAUERS Time: 3:16 PM Felix, I have a vague repressed memory that is surfacing of a story you told here a while ago about meeting A.S. Byatt. Am I correct? I am curious about this now as I am in the midst of reading ANGELS & INSECTS. I've just started, but have been swept away by "Morpho Eugenia". If this did indeed happen to you, perhaps you could say something about her again. If this did not happen to you, please don't think me mad. I'll just quietly walk away and climb back into my cardboard box until I figure this one out! -Divina =============== Reply 2 of Note 10 =================  
To: KWWP63A SARA SAUERS Date: 04/16 From: FAVB99B JANE NIEMEIER Time: 9:38 PM Sara, I met AS Byatt at the TATTERED COVER three years ago when she came to read from POSSESSION. She read the section about the little feet tapping, tapping, and it wasn't until she read it that I realized that this story within a story mirrored the life of the Victorian woman character. Maybe, Felix met her as well. Jane who is surfacing between meetings at school. =============== Reply 3 of Note 10 =================  
To: KWWP63A SARA SAUERS Date: 04/16 From: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Time: 10:05 PM Sara, I am afraid I never met A. S. Byatt, probably no loss to her, as I DID meet Ann Patchett, a novelist who was attending the Oxford Conference for the Book last spring. She was one of the featured writers, and in my ignorance I asked her what she did for a living, when we met at a cocktail party. Suave, I am not. Ms. Patchett is a writer well worth reading, with two novels to her credit: THE PATRON SAINT OF LIARS and TAFT. Ms. Patchett was quite nice as I tried to extricate my foot from my mouth, but at least I did buy both her books (later) and read them. I don't know what I would have done if I met A. S. Byatt, so it's just as well I didn't. I am reading ANGELS & INSECTS, too, alternating with THE SHIPPING NEWS. "Morpho Eugenia" does indeed sweep you away. I am anticipating the admirable Matty sweeping the dunderheaded William away-obviously the boy needs guidance.But of course, males are of such limited usefulness in a well-regulated colony. Right? Regards from the Mountain, Felix Miller( 4/16/96 8:56PM ET =============== Reply 4 of Note 10 =================  
To: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Date: 04/16 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 11:46 PM Felix: Was it Kate Wilhelm's "Where Late the Sweet Bird Sang" that took the notion of male uselessness to the obvious extreme: a post-holocaust society in which men where used as bulls, and not much else? A very vague memory of that book, but I did like Wilhelm. Perhaps our Conductor, who admits to a more recent sci-fi addiction recalls more? And, as long as we're talking sci-fi by women (like, who was?), who wrote that wonderful post-holocaust novel about the two women surviving on the Oregon coast, over a period of many years? A terrific story; must have been Wilhelm or LeGuinn or one of the 'northern California' crowd.... Jim? Dick in Alaska =============== Reply 5 of Note 10 =================  
To: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Date: 04/18 From: KWWP63A SARA SAUERS Time: 10:34 PM Thanks, Felix. Though I messed up on the name, that is indeed the story of you meeting a female author that I remembered. Twelve years ago I met Frank Conroy (STOP-TIME, MIDAIR, BODY AND SOUL) just about as sauvely as you met Ms. Patchett. That embarrassing experience led me directly to the bookstore to cure my ignorance. I read STOP-TIME first - an achingly beautiful memoir of boyhood and adolescence that actually reads like a novel - and have kicked myself ever since for not knowing about this man's writing before I met him. Yes, quite interesting the role of the male in a well-regulated colony. But I will have to reserve my comments on the sweeping away of William by Matty in "Morpho Eugenia" until I have read a bit more. At the moment he appears quite smitten with Eugenia. -Divina =============== Reply 6 of Note 10 =================  
To: FAVB99B JANE NIEMEIER Date: 04/18 From: KWWP63A SARA SAUERS Time: 10:35 PM To Jane who meets ALL the authors at the TATTERED COVER: Can you elaborate a bit on the "spat" you mentioned between Ms. Byatt and Mr. Amis? Does this have to do with the large advance he got on his most recent novel? Forgive me if you have already mentioned this and I missed it. -Divina =============== Reply 7 of Note 10 =================  
To: KWWP63A SARA SAUERS Date: 04/19 From: FAVB99B JANE NIEMEIER Time: 9:35 PM Sara, I met A.S. Byatt before she had the spat with M. Amis. And yes, it was about the huge advance that he received for his last book. She obviously thought that his writing wasn't worth it. This all happened last spring, and I can't remember all of the details. Maybe Ann Davey or Ellen Johnson can help out. Oh, also, M. Amis spent a lot of money to get his rotten teeth fixed and this caused many snide comments, if memory serves. Jane in windy Colorado. =============== Reply 8 of Note 10 =================  
To: FAVB99B JANE NIEMEIER Date: 04/20 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 0:04 AM Jane: The hiding Martin Amis has taken in the British press (and from a number of his fellow writers) for actually making some serious money writing, has been unmerciful. In my personal view, much of this criticism comes from the unreconciled intellectual left who abhor the idea that the market place can permit success for anyone above the literacy level of Danielle Steele. They could have forgiven a $750,000 advance to a hack; to a writer of substance, it was an unforgiveable reminder that much of what their class thinks and writes is irrelevant, if not downright silly, and in large measure, becomes more so with each passing day. Oh woe betide the muses, when the filthy call of lucre sounds louder than the arch opinion of underemployed Oxonian snobs. Dick in Alaska, who isn't all that much of a Martin Amis fan (in contrast to his dah, who was a peach), but always likes it when market forces intrude on people who are above that sort of thing... =============== Reply 9 of Note 10 =================  
To: FAVB99B JANE NIEMEIER Date: 04/20 From: KGXC73A GAIL SINGER GROSS Time: 1:10 AM greetings MADEMOISELLE JANE... i am attending a lecture JUNE 8th where A.S.BYATT will be the star!....hoping i will have some tasty tidbits to add.. gail...a passionate reader in sunless SAN FRANCISCO... =============== Reply 10 of Note 10 =================  
To: KWWP63A SARA SAUERS Date: 04/20 From: KGXC73A GAIL SINGER GROSS Time: 1:20 AM greetings LOVELY SARA.. I was the one who met A.S. BYATT..years ago at the SAN FRANCISCO BOOK FESTIVAL...i am not even sure if POSSESSION had appeared then......we were all bunched together like sardines in a small room...and it was HOT....i remember i inquired about her sister MARGARET DRABBLE..and WOW...little did i know she despises her sister..perhaps envy...who knows....A.S.BYATT talked incessantly about her brother but dropped the discussion immediately when i inquired about her sister.......hence people have alerted me to her intense dislike of sister....NO, POSSESSION was not written then... she is coming to BOOK PASSAGE and i will hopefully get a chance to join on JUNE 8th....perhaps i'll ask some question about her sister and let the sparks fly! MARGARET DRABBLE has quite a following herself...several of my 'bookies' swear by her....i had difficulty in reading her novels.... gail..a passionate reader who is off to WEST COAST LIVE next week to view JOHN FOWLES of THE COLLECTOR and THE MAGUS...fame....... =============== Reply 11 of Note 10 =================  
To: FAVB99B JANE NIEMEIER Date: 04/20 From: KGXC73A GAIL SINGER GROSS Time: 1:23 AM greetings MADEMOISELLE JANE... a million thanks for the information on INSECTS AND ANGELS...i was desperate for the whole story and there it was fascinating...what a mind to have woven a story about insect societies and their relation to humans.. gail..a passionate reader in sunless san francisco... =============== Reply 12 of Note 10 =================  
To: KGXC73A GAIL SINGER GROSS Date: 04/20 From: FAVB99B JANE NIEMEIER Time: 10:17 PM gail, Sir R., Divina, and all, I love both A.S. Byatt and her sister Margaret Drabble. How can so much talent be concentrated in one family? It seems that A.S. should content herself with writing wonderful prose! What say?? Jane in Colorado where it is supposed to snow tonight. To: FAVB99B JANE NIEMEIER Date: 04/29 From: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Time: 10:38 PM To all who have read ANGELS AND INSPECTS, particularly MORPHO EUGENIA: Has anyone figured out what was the second word William sent to Matty in the card game? He had first sent "insect," and she sent back "incest," which gave him to understand she knew of the revelation he had just had about his wife. The passage continues: William looked at his cards, and saw that he could make another word, *and* get rid of the X, and answer her message. I even got out the scrabble board, to help my feeble wits, and failed to figure out the word with the X. Help me in this, someone. Puzzled, on the mountain in drizzle and fog, Felix Miller ( 4/29/96 10:14PM ET =============== Reply 1 of Note 77 =================  
To: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Date: 04/30 From: KWWP63A SARA SAUERS Time: 9:03 PM Felix, I spent some time on this word game as I read this passage in ANGELS & INSECTS and then again after reading your note this afternoon. I have also been unsuccessful in figuring out William's second word. Allow me to add a few more details for those without the book in the hopes that someone will take an interest and help us! The card game they are playing in this book is Anagrams. Each player has nine letters and gives any complete word they can make secretly to anyone else who then must change at least one letter and pass it on. The object is not to be left with letters on cards decorated with demons. William, the wronged husband, has the letters PHXNITCSE. He passes the word INSECTS to Matty, she passes back INCEST and then, as Felix quoted, William passes back a word containing an X that answers her message, which is that she also knew that William's wife had been messing around with her own brother and that in general "things are not what they seem". Matty then has the letters to pass the word PHOENIX to another player. Regarding the book, which I have recently finished: I found it a wonderful mix - Gothic romance and scientific observation and experimentation. How many books attempt that combination? I was enchanted and under its spell until Edgar was caught with his pants down with his sister, Eugenia. Then it was basically all over for me and the earlier moments I had seen as so enchanting also became tainted. I sure wish Ms. Byatt had found another way to get Matty, or shall I say, the metamorphosed Matilda, on the boat to Rio with William. Is it just me who finds that incest as a plot device in contemporary fiction seems a bit overused at the moment? -Sara =============== Reply 2 of Note 77 =================  
To: KWWP63A SARA SAUERS Date: 04/30 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 9:59 PM Sara: Perhaps it's because I wasn't breast-fed, or because I only had a brother, but I've ALWAYS found incest to be a plot device in need of repair. I'm trying to think of a literary period in which the incest ingredient was, in the immortal words of Goldilocks, "Just Right!" So far I'm stumped. On the other hand, great books about bugs are few and far between as well, so maybe I should give it a whirl (the book that is, not incest) Dick in Alaska, on yet ANOTHER sunny evening =============== Reply 3 of Note 77 =================  
To: KWWP63A SARA SAUERS Date: 04/30 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 10:59 PM Sara, I ran the letters you mentioned through the anagram finder on my American Heritage dictionary, and it tells me that PHENIX is an acceptable alternative spelling of the word PHOENIX. Run that and SPHINX through your mythological brains and see what you come up with. That's all I could find, and I don't have time to think it through. --DJP, just trying to help. =============== Reply 4 of Note 77 =================  
To: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Date: 05/01 From: KEXT98A TONYA PRESLEY Time: 1:00 AM Felix, Sara, etc., If William, the wronged husband, cheated just a bit, he could have sent her "next ship" and supplied her with all the letters for phoenix besides the O. That might have answered her challenge. Tonya =============== Reply 5 of Note 77 =================  
To: KEXT98A TONYA PRESLEY Date: 05/01 From: EUCR61A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 1:03 PM Playing this game without having read the book may not work, but I think Marty's suggestion makes the most sense so far (sphinx), unless the rules of Anagram permit you to ship more than one word at a time, in which case 'next ship' sounds awfully good too. As for sphinx, recall our Oedipus: born to Laius and Iocasta, abandoned on a hillside because an oracle predicted the baby would kill his father, adopted out, hears the Delphic oracle predict that he (Oedipus) will kill his father AND marry his mother, so he flees Corinth to avoid his fate. Not a chance, Greek boy. He runs into Laius, not knowing who he is, and in a fit of Anthony Quinn-like rage, kills him. Part I of the prophecy is fulfilled. Next, he runs into the Sphinx, who is causing major tie-ups on the freeway between Corinth and Thebes by killing everybody who can't answer a dumb riddle; Oedipus skates on this one, arrives in Thebes, and marries, you guessed it, dear old mom. Part II fulflled. Strophe. Antestrophe. Proscenium. Whatever. At least it's got the incest part. Dick in Alaska, out of Greek (or is it Latin?) and out of gas ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ To: ALL Date: 09/27 From: NCSH82B BARBARA MOORS Time: 8:27 PM ANGELS AND INSECTS by A.S. Byatt**************************** Just finished listening to the first novella, "Morpho Eugenia", of this book on tape today. This is the first thing I've read by Byatt and I may be hooked, folks. What wonderful writing! I love these long, beautifully worded, descriptive sentences. Listened to gail's tape of her interview on "Fresh Air" and one other NPR appearance and heard her describe how Victorian writing had influenced her writing, particularly George Eliot's. I find this such a perfect meeting of the modern and the Victorian. Is anyone else a Byatt fan and do you think I'll like the rest of her writing as much as I liked this? Am wondering if I'll like the second novella as much as well. The only thing that lost my interest a bit was when she quoted so long from the book being written to try to argue the existence of God, in the face of Darwinian thought, by the patriarch of the family. And, though most of the information regarding insects was fascinating, I did find my mind wandering a bit after a while. However, when she was sticking with the human characters, I was riveted. Kept thinking that those who have been discussing Gould and Dawkins here should read this. The Victorian reaction to Darwin's thinking is very interesting. Also, I remember some discussion on here regarding the word game at the end that was played by Maddy and William. Was the word after incest as simple as sex? Couldn't think of anything else that would use that pesky x that related to the subject at hand. Also, I found myself very interested in A.S. Byatt herself in gail's interview tape. Did anyone else note the difference between her persona in the Fresh Air interview and the more public town hall type one (sorry, can't remember the name of the show)? When she was talking to a larger audience, she seemed to take on an air of wonderfully wry humor and an entertaining quality. On Fresh Air, she seemed such a quiet, methodical intellectual, that I would never have imagined that she would respond to a large audience like that. Also, I kind of wondered if Maddy, the worker ant, had a bit of Byatt in her though Byatt showed a sharp awareness of beauty, clothes, etc. in her interview with Terry Gross. Oh, and one more thing, should let you know why I haven't been living up to the name gail gave me...queen of the tapes...lately. First, my wonderful Ann Arbor library upped their fee for out of district library cards from $25 to $100! My card expired in July and it's taken me this long to work myself up to giving them the big bucks. However, when I considered what it would cost me to rent these unabridged bots my mail, I decided that I would get my money's worth. AA Library justifies it by saying that we would pay more than that per year in taxes for the library if we lived in Ann Arbor, so out of district people were playing less than their fair share. And, last but not least, my new car has a CD player, but no tape player! The music sounds great, but there are very few places to get books on cd. Am probably going to add one on eventually, but, for now, am using a walkman in the car. In any case, it's wonderful to be back listening to books again during my many hours in the car.... Barbara =============== Reply 1 of Note 70 =================  
To: NCSH82B BARBARA MOORS Date: 09/27 From: KGXC73A GAIL SINGER GROSS Time: 9:12 PM greetings QUEEN OF THE TAPES..BARBARA.. you must view the film now..ANGELS AND INSECTS.. and compare the two... the film was intriguing to say the least.. POSSESSION..won THE BOOKER AWARD...and i had difficulty with it but i really think the woman is brillant...most people have found POSSESSION..A NOVEL.. to be an exceptional piece of work...she inserts poetry within the novel and if you are a poetry fan..this fits well within your realm..but those who do not appreciate poetry..find the book is an innovative piece though...gail..hp.. a passionate reader =============== Reply 2 of Note 70 =================  
To: NCSH82B BARBARA MOORS Date: 09/27 From: KGXC73A GAIL SINGER GROSS Time: 9:14 PM greetings QUEEN OF THE TAPES..BARBARA.. POSSESSION is is her latest BABEL TOWER...i really can't handle many of these long books... i am reading a novel that is close to 550 pages ..VILLETTE..charlotte bronte... i had it on tape ..14 unabridged tapes but the reader put me to sleep and i enjoyed reading it much better! gail..hp..a passionate reader in cool/windy/sunny san francisco.. =============== Reply 3 of Note 70 =================  
To: NCSH82B BARBARA MOORS Date: 09/27 From: FAVB99B JANE NIEMEIER Time: 9:55 PM Barbara, I love A.S. Byatt, and I particularly love POSSESSION. That is how I discovered CR. I had posted a subject note on ASB, and Ellen Johnson suggested CR and Classics Corner to me. I also like THE VIRGIN IN (AND?) THE GARDEN and STILL LIFE, but POSSESSION is by far my favorite. Oh, and I have also read ANGELS AND INSECTS. I also saw ASB here at THE TATTERED COVER. She was quiet, witty and unassuming. She used to teach, and I asked her if she ever missed teaching these days. She said that she thought she would but that she didn't miss it at all. I appreciated her candor. Jane who would love to see ASB again. =============== Reply 4 of Note 70 =================  
To: NCSH82B BARBARA MOORS Date: 09/28 From: TQWX67A ANN DAVEY Time: 1:08 AM Barb, The discussion on Byatt's ANGELS AND INSECTS on CR motivated me to read the book, although I finished it after everyone else. I was fascinated by it and by the information gail and Dale sent me on Byatt. She is such an exceptionally intelligent person. I don't know about her most recent book, but I know that POSSESSIONS got very good reviews. It's my nomination for the CR reading list. Actually, I had already nominated Ron Hansen (of MARIETTE IN ECSTACY)'s new book ATTICUS, but Sherry graciously allowed me to change my mind after I finished A&I and decided I had to read something more by Byatt. I started to read POSSESSIONS on my own a few years ago, got bogged down, and gave it up. However, I have found that since I started participating on CR and CC, I have become a lot more willing to tackle more serious books. In fact, my only complaint about CR and CC is that they've more or less ruined my enjoyment of escapist trash . I hope you'll be able to join in when we get to POSSESSIONS. Some CR's have already read it, but I'm hoping they'll remember enough to participate. I missed the movie, but by now it's probably out in video, so maybe I can pick it up. Ann =============== Reply 5 of Note 70 =================  
To: TQWX67A ANN DAVEY Date: 09/28 From: NCSH82B BARBARA MOORS Time: 11:11 AM Ann graciously sent me the discussion from last March on ANGELS AND INSECTS and I realized, after the reading the discussion on the Anagram game, that Byatt would never have intended so simple a word as "sex" for the word that Maddy passed back to William. From her taped interviews, it is obvious that Byatt loves interesting language and vocabulary. There's some worthwhile stuff on Homework Helper about Byatt. I used the search term "Angels and Insects" and the majority of what they found concerned the movie. However, there was one transcribed program from Morning Edition on NPR about the movie that included Byatt's reactions to it, which were all favorable. And, I was interested in her comments there. There's also another interview with her about the book. Am really looking forward to the discussion here re: POSSESSION. My brother has been telling me to read it for a while, but I was a bit intimidated and kept putting it off. Posted in favor of putting it on the CR list this time because, like Ann, I do best with more complicated books when I have the benefit of our on-line discussion. However, after reading A&I, I'm expecting to truly enjoy it. Barbara =============== Reply 6 of Note 70 =================  
To: NCSH82B BARBARA MOORS Date: 09/28 From: KGXC73A GAIL SINGER GROSS Time: 11:23 AM greetings QUEEN OF THE TAPES..BARBARA.. you cannot imagine the film...i found the costuming exceptional...every costume designated an insect...what an imaginative script and director... when you view this enter another world.. gail.hp..a passionate reader..thinking about ANGELS AND INSECTS.. =============== Reply 7 of Note 70 =================  
To: KGXC73A GAIL SINGER GROSS Date: 09/29 From: ERFN90B ELLEN JOHNSON Time: 9:55 AM Barb and all: POSSESSION is on my top-ten desert island list. I'm glad you've discovered Byatt. I didn't read ANGELS AND INSECTS but I saw the film and it was stunning. I'd like to know how well it translated onto film if anyone has read the book and seen the movie. When will POSSESSION be discussed on CR? I've never known a book that has lost so many people mid-stream. I remained hooked because of the chase element involved,all those train trips to the English countryside and most importantly, all the posturing then went on behind the scenes in the academic environment. Ellen =============== Reply 8 of Note 70 =================  
To: ERFN90B ELLEN JOHNSON Date: 09/29 From: NCSH82B BARBARA MOORS Time: 11:52 AM Ellen, Byatt said on Morning Edition (as transcribed on Homework Helper) that they did an excellent job translating A&I to film. I'll try to go get that quote at some point and post it here. She had some interesting things to say about why the story would translate so well to film. Sherry will let us know when POSSESSION is going to be discussed. If it doesn't happen for a while, I will be sure and e-mail you, in case you miss the announcement. It's been a bit of a happy coincidence that I'm reading ADAM BEDE (however slowly) and Byatt at the same time, since Byatt has been so influenced by Eliot. It's also another testimony for the wonders of books on tape that let me do such a thing. Barb =============== Reply 9 of Note 70 =================  
To: NCSH82B BARBARA MOORS Date: 09/29 From: KGXC73A GAIL SINGER GROSS Time: 2:35 PM greetings QUEEN OF THE TAPES...BARBARA.. found this blurb in one of my newsletters....A.S. BYATT..BABEL TOWER.. is a towering edifice of language, built on a foundation of information as complicated and dense as a Gothic Catherdral, as cleanly structured as a QUAker Meeting House, as darkly erotic as a MOOrish castle..each facade is different: a window of WM. BLAKE here, a frieze of educational philosophy there, a block of Auden in the corner, an entire wall on the nature of pornography..the tower is peopled with characters as revolutionary as the '60's architecture through which they move..a committee on the education of children,politicans, rocked by scandal, the principals in a literary pornography trial, a husband and wife locked in the throes of a bitter divorce..artists, writers,publishers, barristers, judges, musicians; all form an integral part of the story, yet despite its fragmentation..BABEL incredibly seductive...perhaps this seductiveness comes from Byatt's style..her titillating peeks into the minds of her cast, the mesmerizing net of her plot unfurling, the languid flow of her prose.. unlike her earlier novel..THE BOOKER PRIZE winning POSSESSION...BABEL TOWER is as accessible as it is intriguing as bullet paced as it is is an absolutely stunning novel... WOW.. I AM ready to dive into this one..! gail..hp..a passionate reader in foggy ..foggy san francisco... =============== Reply 10 of Note 70 =================  
To: KGXC73A GAIL SINGER GROSS Date: 09/29 From: TQWX67A ANN DAVEY Time: 3:33 PM Thanks for posting that, gail. I was a bit surprised because I thought this book got generally unfavorable reviews. Would love to hear your opinion if you read it. Ann =============== Reply 11 of Note 70 =================  
To: NCSH82B BARBARA MOORS Date: 09/29 From: GNBB34B CATHIE WAMPLER Time: 4:18 PM Barbara, POSSESSION is on my-top-ten-of-all-time list. A story within a story, and though I enjoy poetry, I did not feel I had to understand all of that poetry to enjoy the book.(Because I definitely did not understand it all, but could get the "flavor" of it, so to speak). I saw Angels and Insects and then ran right out to get the book. Morpho Eugenia follows the book almost to the letter, but I could not get through the other story in that book having to do with seances. Way over my head!! Many too many references that I didn't comprehend. I tried BABEL TOWER and gave up after only about 25 pages! But did also read THE GAME by Byatt which I understood (hurrah!) and enjoyed. Have her STILL LIFE on my bookshelf, as yet unread. Cathie =============== Reply 12 of Note 70 =================  
To: TQWX67A ANN DAVEY Date: 09/29 From: KGXC73A GAIL SINGER GROSS Time: 8:14 PM greetings ANN.. are correct ..the reviews for BABEL TOWER have been scathing actually... this one surprised me ! the book is so long..these long books tend to scare me away... we are doing POSSESSION ..a novel...your suggestion..for SLO MO BOOK GROUP..which is a really wonderful way to read this book...translated I'D certainly get more out of the reading.. gail..hp..a passionate reader who is listening to BOOK NOTES..brian lamb interviewing MONICA CROWLEY..regarding her book on NIXON.... =============== Reply 13 of Note 70 =================  
To: GNBB34B CATHIE WAMPLER Date: 10/03 From: NCSH82B BARBARA MOORS Time: 10:33 PM Finished listening to the second novella, "In Conjugial Love" in ANGELS AND INSECTS today. Again, please excuse my spelling. Have already taken it back to the library and you can't check much spelling on a bot anyway. I'm sort of amazed at how different in attraction these two stories are. It involves a group of Victorian people who are members of a spiritualist church who meet for weekly seances (sp?) trying to contact people close to them who have died. One very interesting story is that of Alfred Tennyson, his friend Albert Harlan (I'm getting that name wrong, I'm sure) and Tennyson's female cousin. This part of the story could have been fascinating for me given the fact that she seemed to be trying for historical accuracy. But, Byatt just goes wandering on and on in parts to the point where you are simply weary of her. If it hadn't been on tape, I would probably never have finished it. And, I was rewarded by a very good and happy ending that tied up all the loose ends nicely. Find myself wondering where POSSESSION fits between these two samples of Byatt's writing. If it's more like this one, I'm glad I'll have you all to help me down the road. We've been talking about reading THE LIFTED VEIL by George Eliot on CC which involves the same time period and subject, I believe. Since Byatt is such a fan of Eliot's, I expected some reference to that book in her list of references referred to at the end of the book, but it was not there. Has anyone else read this second novella all of the way through and have any opinions? Would love to know how accurate the Harlan/Tennyson dynamics were...Victorian gossip is so irresistable, you know. I've now started listening to THE BOYS OF SUMMER whichmy husband has been recommending to me for a while. Barbara


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