Babel Tower

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Vintage, 1997 - Divorce - 618 pages
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In "Babel Tower" a cast of striking characters play out their personal dramas amid the clashing politics, passionate ideals and stirring languages of the early 1960s. Frederica (the heroine of "Virgin in the Garden" and "Still Life") now teaching English at an art college, is hiding herself and her son Leo from a violent husband; her urge towards freedom later leads to an angry, humiliating divorce case. Hers is not the only struggle; her friend Jude writes a novel, "Babbletower," which is tried for obscenity; her broth in law Daniel becomes involved in new movements for London's poor and distressed. Their crises mirror those of the age-abroad, this is the decade of the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the death of J F Kennedy; at home it is the era of the "Lady Chatterley" case, of the Beatles, of Mods and Rockers, art school riots, the Profumo scandal. Moving and absorbing and full of comedy as well as strife, this superb novel brings our own recent past to vivid, and disturbing life.

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About the author (1997)

A.S. Byatt is the author of Possession, winner of the Booker Prize and a national bestseller. The two novels leading up to Babel Tower, which trace the fortunes of Frederica and her family through the 1950's, are The Virgin in the Garden and Still Life. Byatt's other fiction includes The Shadow of the Sun, The Game, Angels and Insects and two collections of shorter works: Sugar and Other Stories and The Matisse Stories. She has also published three volumes of critical work, of which Passions of the Mind is the most recent. She has taught English and American literature at University College, London, and is a distinguished critic and reviewer. She lives in London.

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