A. S. Byatt died yesterday, aged 87. She had what people will say was ‘a good innings.’ I wonder why we feel that cricket is the appropriate metaphor for a long life, well-lived? Cricket is a game which goes on for weeks, of course, but is it a sign of having lived well? Maybe that’s where the good bit comes in. Do we ever say that someone had a bad innings? Could it be long and bad or is the length of the innings the sign of its goodness? I don’t know. Cricketing metaphors aside, the news made me sad.
I have Possession on my tbr pile but have never read any AS Byatt before, despite my MA tutor, Philip Hensher, being a close friend of Antonia's (I must read his piece in The Spectator). Now I've followed these links to some of her books and had a look inside, I think I will move Possession to the top of my tbr because, as you rightly say, her writing pulls you in. A lovely tribute.
I enjoyed her work too. Glad I learned of her passing from you instead of elsewhere because this was a lovely tribute.
In school whenever I’d enthuse about her work, I’d get two different responses. The women would go, “ooh, yes” and the men would invariably say, “aah! Did you know Margaret Drabble’s sister?”
Thank you for this. I haven't sen anyone else mark her passing on here. I've only ever read Possession - a long time ago, but your words make me want to read more and so I shall search a few tings out, maybe those short stories first.
Much better than the NYT tribute!