This triumphant conclusion to A. S. Byatts great quartet of postwar English life and manners stands on its own as a magical and thoughtprovoking novel of ideas made flesh.
Frederica, the spirited heroine of The Virgin in the Garden, Still Life, and Babel Tower, falls almost by accident into a career in television in London, while tumultuous events in her home county of Yorkshire threaten to split her world. In the late 1960s, the languages of religion, myth, and fairytale overlap with the terms of science and the new computer age. The meaning of love itself seems to vanish and people flounder, often comically, while searching for their true sexual, intellectual, and emotional identities.
Through her wayward, lovingly drawn characters and breathtaking twists of plot, A. S. Byatt illuminates the effervescence of intellectual and social life in 1960s Britain.
Reading A.S. Byatt is like exercising your brain -- she's testing to self you'll stick with her and it's usually worth the struggle. While this wasn't my favorite of her books, I'm certainly glad I read it.