Book cover
A Romance
A.S. Byatt

What an audacious book this is. Byatt takes on two time periods, the 1980s and the mid-19th century. She weaves two touching and elegant love stories. She tackles modern academia. She writes letters and diaries in many distinct voices. And to top it all of she writes hundreds of lines of epic poetry that is expected to pass as great 19th century literature. And let me tell you, she nails it. It takes tremendous courage or foolishness to even attempt a book like this, and it pays off big time. Add to that Byatt’s elegant prose and a deeply engaging plot, and you have a real masterpiece.

At times this book plods, but the writing is so beautiful you can just let it wash over you. (Keep a dictionary by your side. I turned to mine some three dozen times.) I spent a month reading it, and it became a place of peace for me. The pace picks up in the third act, and then I found it hard to put down. The climax is touching and satisfying. I’m considering listing to the audiobook soon because it is worthy of a re-read and would really appreciate a good reader.

I’m genuinely staggered by this book. It is simply brilliant.