John Banville's first novel since the Man Booker-Prize winning The Sea 'Fastidious wit and exquisite style' Sunday Telegraph 'John Banville is one of the finest prose stylists working in English today' Independent A master of the English language with dazzling prose, Banville has delighted critics and readers alike throughout his spectacular career. Picador is immensely excited to publish his new novel and open Banville up to a wider audience than ever before The Sea has so far netted 160,000 hardbacks and 200,000 paperbacks.
John Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. He is the author of 14 previous novels including The Sea, which won the 2005 Booker Prize. He has received a literary award from the Lannan Foundation. He lives in Dublin.
Having apparently exorcised his taste for bloody intrigue with his pseudonym, Benjamin Black, Banville returns to high form (and his given name) with a novel even more pristine than his Booker-winning The Sea. Old Adam Godley lies dying, flying through his past on the way to eternity while his brooding son (also named Adam) sleepwalks through his marriage to the amorous Helen, and young Adam's "loony sister," Petra, writes an encyclopedia of human morbidity. But Adam and his brood are not alone, nor is our narrator any detached third person: the gods are afoot, chiefly Hermes, disguised as a farmer, whispering to us of mortal love, guiding old Adam on his way, and laying bare all the Godleys' secrets while divine Zeus conducts "illicit amours" with Helen. Hermes assures us that mortal speech is "barely articulate gruntings," yet Banville has the perfect instrument for his textured prose, almost never as finely tuned as this. The narrative is rife with asides, but it is to the common trajectory of a life that-despite the noise crowding ailing Adam's repose-it lends its most consoling notes, elevating the temporal and profane to the holy eternal. (Mar.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
In his first novel since the 2005 Man Booker Prize-winning The Sea, Banville reminds the world that he is one of the best prose stylists at work today. He gives us a day in the life of the Godley siblings, who have gathered at the bedside of their comatose father with their stepmother. Narrated from the perspective of the god Hermes, the tale oscillates between the Godley family on Earth and the lives of the immortal gods. The two worlds collide throughout the novel, as the gods intervene in events transpiring among Godley family members. The drama that ensues results from the gods' ability to impersonate human beings on Earth, where they often engage in lascivious activity. At the same time, the interplay between the gods and human beings explores larger existential concepts concerning identity. The plot unfolds like a matryoshka doll, as the masks of individual characters are removed to reveal other masks. VERDICT Choosing introspective character description over rich plotlines, Banville here puts his writing prowess on full display. This work will appeal to readers who enjoy the work of John Updike or Vladimir Nabokov. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/09.]-Joshua Finnell, Denison Univ. Lib., Granville, OH Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
A poetic vision of boundless possibility. * Literary Review *
Full of dark humour and written with a deft eye for detail. * GQ *
This darkly comic and fearsomely clever creation is a heady delight. * Metro *
Written in such saturatedly beautiful, luminous prose that every page delights, startles and uplifts. * The Times *