A Musing: Babel Tower

The writing of A.S. Byatt gives me nightmares. In case you were wondering, that’s a complement. Byatt’s writing worms its way deep into my psyche. Her novels speak of primal fears and timeless horrors. They make you uncomfortable. She’s brave and bold and terrifically smart. She doesn’t spare herself, or her readers.

Babel Tower is a book about books (about books about books). About language. About how we use words — in law, in education, with tradition, during change. It’s about the 1960s and other “utopias” — about Blake (and Heaven, and Hell, and Marriage) and Nietzsche and de Sade. About Lawrence and Forster. About the world we inherited and the world we live in.

It’s an incredible and overwhelming masterpiece. I’m changed after reading it.



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  2. FleurFisher

    That is wonderful. I’ve loved some of A S Byatt’s work – Possession, Angels & Insects and some shorter pieces – but her bigger books rather scare me. Thank you for inspiring me

    • jackiemania

      I looooooved Possession.

      I didn’t learn until after I began this book that it is actually part of a series:

      The Virgin in the Garden (1978)
      Still Life (1985)
      Babel Tower (1996)
      A Whistling Woman (2002)

      Now I must read them all 🙂 Babel Tower is one of those books you can read a million times – it’s so rich.

  3. claire

    Hi! I found your blog through Tuesday in Silhouette. I haven’t heard of this book being blogged about and I just want to say thank you because I have it on my shelf and have no idea if it was worth reading at all. So now I’m excited to dig in! Thanks again!

    • jackiemania

      Claire, I absolutely loved it. I will note that it’s book number three of a quartet of books, but I didn’t know that when I started it! I think the book is complete on it’s own, but I do want to read the others. I wanted to mention it because I was a little upset with myself when I found out after I began 🙂

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