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Thursday, December 7, 2023

AS Byatt, the author of 'Possession', dies at 87

LONDON: British author A S Byatt, who wove history, myth and a sharp eye for human foibles into books that included the Booker Prize-winning novel “Possession“, has died at the age of 87.
Byatt’s publisher, Chatto & Windus, said Friday that the authordied “peacefully at home surrounded by close family” on Thursday. Byatt wrote two dozen books, starting with her first novel, “The Shadow of the Sun”, in 1964.Her work was translated into 38 languages.
“Possession,” published in 1990, follows two young academics investigating the lives of a pair of imaginary Victorian poets. The novel, a double romance which skillfully layers a modern story with mock-Victorian letters and poems, was a huge bestseller and won the Booker Prize. Accepting the prize, Byatt said “Possession” was about the joy of reading. “My book was written on a kind of high about the pleasures of reading,” she said.
“Possession” was adapted into a 2002 film starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart. It was one of several Byatt books to get the film treatment. “Morpho Eugenia,” a gothic Victorian novella included in the 1992 book “Angels and Insects,” became a 1995 movie of the same title with Mark Rylance and Kristin Scott Thomas. Her short story “The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye,” which won the 1995 Aga Khan Prize for Fiction, inspired the 2022 fantasy film “Three Thousand Years of Longing.” It starred Idris Elba as a genie who spins tales for an academic played by Tilda Swinton. Her most recent book was “Medusa’s Ankles,” a volume of short stories published in 2021. ap

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