The last of the Frederica Potter series. I enjoyed this one more than number 3 (Babel Tower).
Here’s the blurb …
The Booker Prize-winning author of Possession delivers a brilliant and thought-provoking novel about the 1960s and how the psychology, science, religion, ethics, and radicalism of the times affected ordinary lives.
“Rich, acerbic, wise…. [Byatt] tackles nothing less than what it means to be human.” — Vogue
Frederica Potter, a smart, spirited 33-year-old single mother, lucks into a job hosting a groundbreaking television talk show based in London. Meanwhile, in her native Yorkshire where her lover is involved in academic research, the university is planning a prestigious conference on body and mind, and a group of students and agitators is establishing an “anti-university.” And nearby a therapeutic community is beginning to take the shape of a religious cult under the influence of its charismatic religious leader.
A Whistling Woman portrays the antic, thrilling, and dangerous period of the late ‘60s as seen through the eyes of a woman whose life is forever changed by her times.
These novels are full of detail and information, which I love. I read a review where someone was complaining about the description of clothes, but I love that. These novels are rich in description, literary allusions, science, etc.
I am still listening to the Frederica Potter series of novels, this one is number three. These novels have so much going on – there is stories within stories. There is the plot of the novel and then there is bits of Babel Tower (a novel written by one of the characters) and there is another story written by yet another character. The novels are full of literary, scientific and art references. The characters are articulate.
Here’s the blurb …
Babel Tower follows The Virgin in the Garden and Still Life in tracing Frederica Potter, a lover of books who reflects the author’s life and times. It centers around two lawsuits: in one, Frederica — a young intellectual who has married outside her social set — is challenging her wealthy and violent husband for custody of their child; in the other, an unkempt but charismatic rebel is charged with having written an obscene book, a novel-within-a-novel about a small band of revolutionaries who attempt to set up an ideal community. And in the background, rebellion gains a major toehold in the London of the Sixties, and society will never be the same.
I had forgotten how much I enjoyed reading these novels – I remember waiting impatiently for the final one to be released. They’re interesting; there are a variety of characters of all sorts (weird, clever, violent, angry, kind, mad) and I think it gives the reader an insight into life in the 1960s and 70s as a clever and ambitious woman.
From the author of The New York Times best seller Possession , comes a highly acclaimed novel which captures in brilliant detail the life of one extended English family-and illuminates the choices they must make between domesticity and ambition, life and art.
Stephanie Potter gives up a promising academic career to marry Daniel Orton, while her sister, Frederica, enters Cambridge, and her brother, Marcus, begins recovering from a nervous breakdown
This one is a bit sadder than the first – Byatt does write grief well, but it still has all the lovely art and literature references. And I love how we get snippets from several characters’s view points – Alexander, Stephanie, Marcus and, of course, Frederica.
I am looking forward to the next one Babel Tower, which is also on Borrowbox.
I read this years ago, in the 90s after reading Possession. I loved this series, I can remember waiting for the final one to be released. And I keep hoping she might bring out one more novel (she was born in 1936, so that might be a bit hopeful on my part).
This novel popped up as an audio book on Borrowbox, so I have been listening to it for the past few weeks (it’s 23 ish hours long).
I loved it again this time around, and I have since downloaded the second one Still Life.
Here’s the Goodreads blurb (which really doesn’t do this novel justice)
A new play, the highlight of a magnificent local festival celebrating the coronation of Elizabeth II, brings together the young playwright and a brilliant but eccentric family whose personal dramas soon eclipse the entire production.