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The Shadow of the Sun Paperback – April 16, 1993


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Product Details

  • Series: Harvest Book
  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (April 16, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156814161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156814164
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,539,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A.S.Byatt's first novel, written in her early twenties, is simultaneously a rehearsal of the themes of her later fiction and a major work in its own right. Her concern with precise nuances of thought and feeling and their representation in prose is almost unparalleled in contemporary writing. The Shadow of the Sun is a tremendous achievement" -- DJ Taylor "In her very first novel, The Shadow of the Sun, A.S. Byatt showed herself to be that rarity, and English writer unafraid of the novel of ideas. Yet she is also the most sensuous of novelists - fictions made flesh are her passion" -- Christopher Hope "Byatt is a wonderful writer, constantly engaging wherever she takes us" The Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

First published in 1964, this is the story of Anna Severell's struggle at the age of 17 to evolve her own personality in the shadow of her father, Henry Severell, a famous English novelist. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Eileen G. on November 19, 1997
Format: Paperback
This is a great read for any fan of British novelist and critic A.S. Byatt. It's her first novel, written as an undergraduate (and reworked a few yrs later when she was a young mother.) She was obviously passionate, perceptive, brainy, busy, and full of life.The protagonist Anna notices, thinks about, and feels things -- intensely. The autobiographical story is interesting, and less deeply upholstered than Byatt's subsequent novels. The narrator's immediacy is compelling, and the young woman's struggles to define herself within (and separate from) her intellectually consuming and powerful family are well drawn. Lots of 'characters,' the Byatt ear for speech and eye for the telling detail. Memorable escapades and love affairs, too It's intense and brimming with energy and life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael K. Smith TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
Sometimes, a young writer's first novel is a blockbuster, a runaway bestseller. (This seems more likely to be the case when its style is heavily cinematic.) And this is unfortunate, in a way, because any subsequent work then has a sort of doom hanging over it for its author: Will it be as good as my first book? More often, though, for a "literary" author, the first book is likely to be a bit tentative, just a toe in the water. Then the work improves and draws more attention as the corpus grows. Practice makes perfect. This is largely what happened with Byatt, whose work grew more complex and multifaceted until, finally, Possession won the Booker Prize. The Shadow of the Sun was her first novel, conceived while she was at Cambridge in the mid-1950s and finally published nearly a decade later. And, in the sense described above, it's almost the perfect "first novel."

Ann Severell is an untidy, unwashed, unbrushed seventeen, sulky and angst-ridden, whose father, Henry, is a famous novelist and generally considered a genius. She has never been able to escape the shadow he casts over everyone else, but especially (she believes) over her. People are always asking her questions about her father, not about herself. Anna is not unintelligent but is, naturally, an indifferent student, having been dismissed from her school after running away to York for several days, and having been unhappily and forlornly in love. Her younger brother, Jeremy, is just the opposite -- thoroughly social, determined to be liked, mannerly, polite, and always presentable. Which, of course, drives Anna crazy.
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By Rosemary Jensen on August 24, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading a "me-book" by Byatt. Since I am a particular fan of Byatt's, it was important to me to see the genius budding into the author of the Potter family series and "Possession." Towards the conclusion of the novel, I thought I spotted the mature Byatt of the greater works.
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