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I have often enjoyed A.S. Byatt's work. Some of it is absolutely breathtaking. Sadly, this book is so bad that had it been the first thing I'd read from Byatt, I would never have read anything else she wrote.
The plot introduction seemed promising, as if there would be an intriguing story question to be worked out. Sadly, the book moves along as slowly as one of Simon's snakes in cool weather. I tried but regrettably failed to care what happened to these characters.
There is a rather unseemly sense of washing the dirty laundry of the family in a public forum. Her sister, novelist Margaret Drabble, called it "a mean-spirited book about sibling rivalry," and it has been blamed for setting the seal on their estrangement.
Whether or not that is the case, my advice would be to enjoy the work of Byatt's maturity and leave this self-indulgent mess alone.
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Would you try another book from A. S. Byatt and/or Wanda McCaddon?
I had loved Possession, so I had high hopes for this one but was disappointed.
What was most disappointing about A. S. Byatt’s story?
This is the story of deep conflict between two sisters, but neither was a sympathetic character, and the story dragged. I did listen to all of it, but almost gave up half-way through. It is one of her earlier works, and undoubtedly reflects the well-known conflict between Byatt and her sister, Margaret Drabble.