Angels & Insects : Two Novellas is really quite challenging reading because of its subject matter; set in Victorian England, it tells the story of an upper class household, proper and upright on the outside but embroiled in an incestuous affair behind the upstanding veneer. The book deals with the hypocrisy of Victorian propriety, sexual assault and suicide, but its two more likable protagonists, unassuming entymologist-turned-tutor Matty Crompton and naturalist adventurer William Adamson ultimately end up together, in a surprisingly happy and upbeat ending to a novel that is filled with incredibly unpleasant characters.
A.S. Byatt is a Booker Prize winning English author who was named by The Times newspaper as one of the fifty most influential British writers since 1945. Her most famous work is Perfume : A Romance, which was also her most critically acclaimed and awarded.
Byatt's sister, Margaret Drabble, is also a well-known novelist, which has sometimes been a bone of contention between the siblings because both have a tendency to use auto-biographical details in their work. Neither reads the others' work. Their rivalry was the basis for Byatt's novel The Game, published in 1967.
Angels & Insects was adapted for the big screen in 1995 and starred starlet du jour Patsy Kensit as Eugenia. Kristin Scott Thomas, who played the role of Matty Crompton, won the Best Actress Award at the British FilmAwards in 1996.