John Banville, the author of fifteen previous novels, has been the recipient of the Man Booker Prize, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Guardian Fiction Award, the Franz Kafka Prize and a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction. He lives in Dublin.
"A wise, sad and achingly gorgeous book." --San Francisco Chronicle "Transcendent. . . . [Banville's] prose . . . has a kind of luxuriant beauty, and, given the number of gorgeous arias written in different keys in many sharps and flats, the novel has a feel of a feverish atonal chamber opera. . . . One reads Ancient Light in a state of slightly stunned admiration." --Charles Baxter, The New York Review of Books "A brilliant meditation on desire and loss." --Minneapolis Star Tribune "An adolescent love story comparable with Turgenev's great novella 'First Love.' Seamless, profound . . . it is an unsettling and beautiful work." --The Wall Street Journal "Flashes with comedy. . . . [Filled with] Banville's brilliant prose." --The Plain Dealer "The most striking thing about the book is the language. Line after line is stuffed with poetic effects." --The New Yorker "[A] meditation of breath-taking beauty and profundity on love and loss and death, the final page of which brought tears. The Stockholm jury should pick up the phone now." --The Financial Times "A luminous, breathtaking work. . . . Banville perfectly captures the spirit of adolescence, the body yearning for sexual experience, the mind blurring eroticism and emotion. . . . [He] is a Nabokovian artist, his prose so rich, poetic and packed with startling imagery that reading it is akin to gliding regally through a lake of praline: it's a slow, stately process, delicious and to be savoured." --The Independent (London) "Beautiful. . . . Banville is the heir to Proust, via Nabokov." --The Daily Beast "A haunting vision of a past slipping away even as it is pursued." --The Columbus Dispatch "Ancient Light lives up to its title as an accomplished tale of the tricks of memory and time that both comfort and deceive." --Richmond Times-Dispatch "The prose is precise, beautiful, musical, freshly sprung. . . . Catch [the light] right, as Banville does, and everything is illuminated." --The Times (London) "Sulky, sordid, and moving. The language soars, full of the beauty of nature and the sadness of loss." --Marie Claire (UK) "Shows how first love remains our only love, how it spawns the pattern of our desires, how it imprints Eros on the soul. . . . Banville is such a masterful writer that we never lose our focus. . . . Heartbreaking." --The Wichita Eagle "Banville, a writer of exquisite precision and emotional depth, writes with droll inquisition and entrancing sensuality in this suspenseful drama of the obliviousnessness of lust and the weight of grief." --Booklist (starred)
Retired actor Alexander Cleave plumbs his memory to describe his first "love," a 15-year-old's unlikely affair with his best friend's mother. Early on, Alex confides he is sure that the affair's inevitable discovery will be devastating to both, spending the greater part of the novel (with many close calls) elsewhere before revealing that discovery. All this relates somehow to the shaping-or misshaping-of Alex's psyche in relation to his daughter, Cass, featured in two prior Alexander Cleave novels, who died by suicide. Despite the sordid plot and a muddled subplot involving Alex costarring in a motion picture, the book is given a terrific reading by Robin Sachs. Verdict This will likely be of considerable interest to award-winning author Banville's (The Infinities) fans and so is recommended for adult fiction collections.-Cliff Glaviano, formerly with Bowling Green State Univ. Libs., OH (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.