The Shadow of the Sun by A.S. Byatt

Serious summary of The Shadow of the Sun by A.S. Byatt: Written when A.S. Byatt was an undergraduate, THE SHADOW OF THE SUN is the story of 17-year-old Anna Severel, daughter of a lionized novelist. As Anna struggles to get a grip on her own life, she knows that, in order to survive, she must somehow throw off the influence of her father. A classic coming-of-age story, Byatt's first novel introduces one of the themes that will inform her later work: the artist's relentless search for identity. 


My two cents

OK bits:  I actually bought the book for its cover (don't laugh) because Van Gogh has always been a favorite. Kidding aside, the prose is lovely! I like the whole metaphor upon which the book is based:  think about it, a sun can never have a shadow.

Boring bits: Be prepared for really long-winded descriptions. In fact Byatt herself says that her first piece is "overwritten" but she has a lovely way of saying things.  

Maybe the whole story is a bit of a cliche too. If I had read it when I was in my early twenties I could have related a bit more or maybe oohed-ahhed some. But this has the cliche crush on the good-looking guy, cliche affair with a middle-aged man who "saves" her throughout the novel, and the cliche pregnancy. 

Verdict: Quite good! Find out why Byatt is such a celebrated writer, her first book reveals quite a bit already!


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First line: The house was waiting; low and still and grey, with clean curtains in the long windows, and a fresh line of white across the edge of the steps. 

The book in one sentence: A rebellious daughter finally comes into her own after struggling to escape her famous father-writer's shadow.

Who would you recommend it to: Any fan of A.S. Byatt, as this is her debut novel! And if you like coming-of-age stories, this is a good one!


Random quote:
Love exposes one so, she thought, one is so dependent on it, and maybe one will never be intimate enough not to care if anything goes a bit wrong. I can see one would be, she thought vaguely. (p. 45)

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