A.S. Byatt’s The Virgin in the Garden is an involved, minute look at the lives of several characters in an English town on the eve of the coronation of the queen in 1953. The characters are connected, directly and indirectly, to a playwright and a play, about Elizabeth I. In is very erudite, very literary. Most of the characters are tightly bound by social and class constraints. Some yearn to be free, some yearn to be anything but what they are. Ultimately, after slogging halfway through it, I gave up. Apparently I am not the only one. Tough novel to “enjoy.”
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