In my last post I said that Possession: A Romance by A.S. Byatt is the best book I’ve ever read. What made me pick up Possession in the first place? you might ask. I’m glad you asked. Let me tell you. I watched the movie.
In 2002, Possession was made into a movie staring Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart. I heard about the movie and thought it sounded interesting because of the connection of the present and the past. Time travel has long been an interest of mine, and it seemed like this movie might go there, but it wasn’t clear from the trailers. It turns out there was no time travel in the conventional H.G. Wells sense in the movie. The time travel happened through documents long hidden that revealed a mysterious past. I quite enjoyed the movie (on video) and noticed it was adapted from a book. The same evening I watched the movie, I looked up the book in the U of T library system and the next day checked it out.
The book is so much better than the movie. Don’t get me wrong, the movie is quite good, it is very enjoyable. There isn’t anything wrong with the movie. It is a good adaptation of the book. The book is just better. The book contains so much detail, it develops the characters, it contains so many things that cannot be captured on screen. For example, Byatt is a ventriloquist of extraordinary range, but this is only evident in the book. Two of the fictional characters are poets with a large – and of course fictional – body of work. How do you quote a fictional poet? You make up his or her poems. And short stories. And letters.
The book is just so good I cannot say anything else other than go read it. It did win the Booker Prize in 1990, so there are a few people other than me who think it is worth reading.
Really, I’m done talking about Possession now.