The Virgin in the Garden by A S Byatt 1978 428pp

The breadth and complexity of this novel displays the author’s intellectual skills. this reader was more impressed with her storytelling as the plot that she wove was clever,and intricate. This book is the first volume in a tetralogy of the memorable Potter family especially the younger daughter, Frederica.

The Potters are very bright people but their likeability is not enhanced by their intelligence. The book alternates its story line to accommodate the changes in the lives of the three children.

Byatt is able tp spin a web of growing suspense throughout the novel  and it holds the reader’s interest enough to wade through some parts that are extremely blogged down in metaphysical speculations. It will be hoped that in the later volumes the author will pare down similar chapters to concentrate more on the story telling and character analysis that she does so well.

This reader immediately after finishing the book went to the library to borrow “Still Life” the next volume in the series.


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