Lost in the beauty of language

23 03 2010

A review of The Children’s Book by A. S. Byatt.

As a prolific reader I find that I forget how beautiful our language can be; how descriptive and colorful, how it can be used to create a scene, a mood or a world.  Most contemporary novels are written in a more modern version of english, an english simplified and filled with slang.

A. S. Byatt writes books that remind us what prose is.  This is a book whose language you will sink into and be engulfed by.  It possesses you and because of the pure use of the language you become transported to this place and this time. 

The way she develops her characters (or doesn’t develop some) is just right.  You care about the characters, are sympathetic to them and to their failings although you may find yourself exasperated with some of their human frailties.  Having grown with these characters when you reach the end you find yourself shocked and saddened by the finish, brought down to earth out of the fantasy life that had been constructed.

I can not believe that I have avoided reading A. S. Byatt’s work for so long.  I have to admit that I did this consciously, I have had Possession on my shelves for years without picking it up.  I guess I will have to read it now and soon.  I was drawn in to this work after the first chapter, I dare say even the first sentence.

This book is long, and because of the use of the language it will take some time to finish.  I have read longer books without such descriptive prose that took less time to read but it is totally worth it.

This book was borrowed from the library.