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John Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. His first book, Long Lankin, was published in 1970. His other books are Nightspawn, Birchwood, Doctor Copernicus (which won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1976), Kepler (which was awarded the Guardian Fiction Prize in 1981), The Newton Letter (which was filmed for Channel 4), Mefisto, The Book of Evidence (shortlisted for the 1989 Booker Prize and winner of the 1998 Guinness Peat Aviation Award), Ghosts, Athena, The Untouchable, Eclipse and Shroud. He has received a literary award from the Lannan Foundation. He lives in Dublin.
The Booker Prizewinning author of The Sea offers up another intelligent, beautifully written novel this time with a Victorian setting. The story flows along elegantly with each chapter a vignette. Nothing is over-explained, the descriptions are evocative and the thoughts of the characters well expressed. It is a stunning read from one of our finest novelists who also writes 1950s detective stories under the name of Benjamin Black (great reads!). Here he has a wealthy lady, Isabel Osmond, is a failed marriage from which she wishes to “purchase my emancipation – to suffrage if you like.” …. But this is in the Victorian era … However the suffragette movement and some independence for women is erupting. Isabel discovers her husband has deceived her for year and extracts a subtle revenge. Highly recommended. ~ Sarah Broadhurst
Adultery is always put in terms of thieving. But we were happy together, simply happy. Oliver Orme used to be a painter, well known and well rewarded, but the muse has deserted him. He is also, as he confesses, a petty thief; he does not steal for gain, but for the thrill of it. His worst theft is Polly, the wife of his friend Marcus, with whom he has had an affair. When the affair is discovered, Oliver hides himself away in his childhood home. From here he tells the story of a year, from one autumn to the next. Many surprises and shocks await him, and by the end of his story, he will be forced to face himself and seek a road towards redemption
'Billy Gray was my best friend and I fell in love with his mother.' In a small town in 1950s Ireland a fifteen-year-old boy has illicit meetings with a thirty-five-year-old woman - in the back of her car on sunny mornings, and in a rundown cottage in the country on rain-soaked afternoons. Unsure why she has chosen him, he becomes obsessed and tormented by this first love. Half a century later, actor Alexander Cleave - grieving for the recent loss of his daughter - recalls these trysts, trying to make sense of the boy he was and of the needs and frailties of the human heart.
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 17 December 2009. A family drama with the action taking place over one day. Even within this time frame there are wonderful insights in to relationships and situations. With the odd mythical god thrown in to the action to add a level of quirkiness to proceedings this is another great read from the author of The Sea.
Winner of the Man Booker 2005. This review is provided by bookgroup.info.THE SEA is not a likely story: there is this hypochondriacal, slightly sodden, aestheticallyfastidious art historian, supposedly engaged in a scholarly monograph on Bonnard, who totters off down a memory lane which is "rutted as always was". Well, but his wife of thirty years has died, as she said, of an illness quite inappropriate to their style of living. So, forlorn and bewildered, Morden has this vivid dream, and, waking, feels drawn to revisit the scene of a youthful seaside holiday. He is not drawn to revisit the chalet with its smelly little wooden outhouse where he and his lard-white father and resentful mother went for their holidays, but to the Cedars in Station Road. The Grace family holidays at the Cedars; their motor car stands in the drive; Mr. Grace, Carlo, deeply suntanned, drinks ice blue gin with a slice of lemon; they have a picnic basket, folding canvas chairs, bathing dresses and a travelling rug. Mrs. Grace, Constance, Connie, wears sun glasses with white plastic rims, smokes cigarettes, and regards her husband with tolerant amusement. There are the twins, a boy and a girl, Morden's age, and a young, unhappygoverness. THE SEA is a book to be savoured, remembered, and reread: when the Grace's motor car sweeps by "Tall grasses in the ditch, blond like the woman's hair, shivered briefly and returned to their former dreaming stillness." As Morden tells his story with a shrug and silent laughter (and sometimes with tears) he keeps company with composers, poets, Greek gods, artists and philosophers. But Mrs. Grace, the twins and the hapless governess prevail. And always The Waves. Max Morden has come amongst us, and will remain with us, probably, for ever and ever. Amen.Sarah Broadhurst's view...Max writes about art, he tells his story in flowing, gracious prose. Recently widowed, he comes to a seaside house he knew as a child and reflects. Alternating with memories of childhood holidays and his life with his wife, Anna, mostly her last year when they both knew she was dying of cancer, this beautiful book definitely deserved its Man Booker win.Similar this month: Joseph Boyden.Comparison: Dermot Bolger, Barry Unsworth, Simon Mawer.
Winner of the Man Booker 2005 and the favourite book as chosen by lovereading's readers . Critically acclaimed as possibly the best novel John Banville has written now you have the opportunity to download an extract and let you make up your own mind.
'Billy Gray was my best friend and I fell in love with his mother.' Alexander Cleave, an actor who thinks his best days are behind him, remembers his first unlikely affair as a teenage boy in a small town in 1950s Ireland: the illicit meetings in a rundown cottage outside town; assignations in the back of his lover's car on sunny mornings and rain-soaked afternoons. And with these early memories comes something sharper and much darker - the more recent recollection of the actor's own daughter's suicide ten years before. Ancient Light is the story of a life rendered brilliantly vivid: the obsession and selfishness of young love and the terrifying shock of grief. It is a dazzling novel, funny, utterly pleasurable and devastatingly moving in the same moment. 'Illuminating, funny, devastating. A meditation of breathtaking beauty and profundity on love and loss and death' Financial Times 'Banville perfectly captures the spirit of adolescence. A luminous, breathtaking work' Independent on Sunday 'Startlingly brilliant. Terrific - full of sadness and yearning' Sunday Telegraph
A MASTERFUL TALE OF BETRAYAL AND CORRUPTION BY THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE-WINNING AUTHOR OF THE SEA 'Banville is one of the writers I admire the most' Hanya Yanahigara, author of A Little Life 'A brilliant feat of literary ventriloquism' The Times Having fled Rome and a stultifying marriage, Isabel Osmond is in London, brooding on the recent disclosure of her husband's shocking, years-long betrayal of her. What should she do now, and which way should she turn, in the emotional labyrinth where she has been trapped for so long? Reawakened by grief and the knowledge of having been grievously wronged, she determines to resume her youthful quest for freedom and independence. Soon Isabel must return to Italy and confront her husband, and seek to break his powerful hold on her. But will she succeed in outwitting him, and securing her revenge? Mrs Osmond is a masterly novel of betrayal, corruption and moral ambiguity, from the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sea. 'A worthy sequel ... His book is not only an impressive recreation of James's atmospheres and pacing, but also full of minor cliff-hangers and page-turning suspenses that keep you guessing' Observer 'John Banville is one of the best novelists in English, and an expert ventriloquist, among other things ... Mrs Osmond is both a remarkable novel in its own right and a superb pastiche' Guardian 'John Banville is simply the finest writer at work today, a prolific prose stylist whose work has only deepened in quality throughout his career' John Boyne
From the internationally acclaimed and Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sea and the Benjamin Black mysteries--a vividly evocative memoir that unfolds around the author's recollections, experience, and imaginings of Dublin.As much about the life of the city as it is about a life lived, sometimes, in the city, John Banville's "e;quasi-memoir"e; is as layered, emotionally rich, witty, and unexpected as any of his novels. Born and bred in a small town a train ride away from Dublin, Banville saw the city as a place of enchantment when he was a child, a birthday treat, the place where his beloved, eccentric aunt lived. And though, when he came of age and took up residence there, and the city became a frequent backdrop for his dissatisfactions (not playing an identifiable role in his work until the Quirke mystery series, penned as Benjamin Black), it remained in some part of his memory as fascinating as it had been to his seven-year-old self. And as he guides us around the city, delighting in its cultural, architectural, political, and social history, he interweaves the memories that are attached to particular places and moments. The result is both a wonderfully idiosyncratic tour of Dublin, and a tender yet powerful ode to a formative time and place for the artist as a young man.
Wie der dustere, grobe Caliban in Shakespeares "e;Sturm"e; ist Axel Vander ein eher ruder Zeitgenosse. Als bedeutender Literaturwissenschaftler und Verfasser groer Werke uber Nietzsche verbringt er seinen Lebensabend in Kalifornien. Uberraschend trifft ein Brief aus Europa ein, in dem die Schreiberin andeutet, Geheimnisse zu kennen, die Vander seit Jahrzehnten, seit seiner Jugend als Jude im von den Nazis besetzten Belgien verborgen hat. Um herauszufinden, was die Unbekannte uber ihn wei, reist Vander nach Turin, wo er sie am Rande eines Nietzsche-Kongresses trifft. Es ist Cass Cleave, eine junge Irin, verfuhrerisch, intelligent und zugleich von einer schweren Nervenkrankheit gezeichnet. Zwischen dem alten Mann und der jungen Frau entspinnt sich eine Liebesbeziehung, die Cass immer tiefer sturzen lasst, wahrend Vander sich zum ersten Mal der Wahrheit stellt, seine Rolle als Opfer und Tater begreift. Inspiriert durch die Lebensgeschichte von Paul de Man und Louis Althusser hat Banville in diesem Roman das bewegend erschreckende Bild eines Mannes in seiner Zeit entworfen.
Freddy Montgomery ist ein attraktiver Mann in den besten Jahren, der einen Lebensstil des gepflegten Muiggangs pflegt. Doch damit ist es vorbei, als er sich eine grere Geldsumme leiht, die er nicht zurckzahlen kann. Vergeblich hofft er auf die Hilfe eines Kunsthndlers in seiner irischen Heimat. Als er schlielich versucht, eines von dessen Gemlden zu stehlen, wird er von einem Dienstmdchen berrascht, das er in einem sinnlosen Akt der Gewalt ttet - ein Mord, der eine Kette weiterer Katastrophen auslst ...
Morrow ist kein unbeschriebenes Blatt. Er hat im Gefangnis gesessen, war gewalttatig, hat Frau und Kinder verloren. Nun hat er seinen Namen geandert, wie schon haufiger. Geldsorgen hat er keine mehr seit ihm Tante Corky ihr gesamtes Vermogen hinterlassen, nachdem er sie in den letzten Wochen bei sich aufgenommen hatte. Tante Corky war nicht seine richtige Tante, und Morrow wei nicht, wer sie wirklich war, welche ihrer Geschichten der Wahrheit entsprechen. Doch eigentlich drehen sich seine Gedanken nur um seine GeliebteA.,die er eines Tages kennen gelernt hatte, die ihn mitnahm in Mordens Haus. Eine Frau, der er mit jeder Faser verfiel, und deren Geheimnis er noch imer nichtzu lften vermag. Morden hatte ihn in dieses Haus geholt, um Gutachten abzugeben ber einige Bilder niederlndischer Maler zu klassifizieren.Bilder, die gestohlen waren, wie er spter erfhrt. Morrowwird in einen Sumpf hineingezogen, aus dem er sich nicht befreien kann. Jetzt, da alles zu spt ist,versucht er zu rekapitulieren, was passiert ist. Und er sucht weiter nachA.. "e;Schreib mir"e;, hatte sie ihm beim Abschied gesagt, ohne eine Adresse zu hinterlassen. Und Morrow schreibt.
Auf dem Hohepunkt seiner Karriere, mit 50 Jahren, verlasst Alexander Cleave mitten in einem Monolog fur immer die Buhne. Und nicht nur die Buhne, auch die Rollen im Leben, in denen er als Ehemann und Vater gescheitert ist. Er zieht sich in sein Elternhaus zuruck und versinkt in der Vergangenheit, auf der Suche nach sich selbst und seinen Versaumnissen. Wie Gespenster tauchen seine Eltern auf, Cass, seine hochbegabte, psychisch kranke Tochter. Er fuhlt sich von Phantomen umzingelt. Aber auch die Wirklichkeit lasst ihn nicht los. Da ist Quirke, ein unheimlicher Typ, der das Haus versorgt, und seine Tochter Lily, die fur Cleave zur Ersatztochter wird. Seine Frau Lydia kommt, um ihn aus seiner Krise herauszureien. Von Cass erreichen Cleave Botschaften, von denen die letzte zeigt, dass die drohenden Schatten nicht nur aus der Vergangenheit stammen, sondern dustere Boten der Gegenwart sind.
From the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sea, a dazzling and audacious new novel that extends the story of Isabel Archer, the heroine of Henry James's The Portrait of a Lady, into unexpected territory.Isabel Archer is a young American woman, swept off to Europe in the late nineteenth century by an aunt who hopes to round out the impetuous but nave girl's experience of the world. When Isabel comes into a large, unexpected inheritance, she is finagled into a marriage with the charming, penniless, andas Isabel finds out too latecruel and deceitful Gilbert Osmond, whose connection to a certain Madame Merle is suspiciously intimate. On a trip to England to visit her cousin Ralph Touchett on his deathbed, Isabel is offered a chance to free herself from the marriage, but nonetheless chooses to return to Italy. Banville follows James's story line to this point, but Mrs. Osmond is thoroughly Banville's own: the narrative inventiveness; the lyrical precision and surprise of his language; the layers of emotional and psychological intensity; the subtle, dark humor. And when Isabel arrives in Italyalong with someone else!the novel takes off in directions that James himself would be thrilled to follow.
Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Mrs Osmond by John Banville, read by Amy Finegan. What was freedom, she thought, other than the right to exercise ones choices? Isabel Osmond, a spirited, intelligent young heiress, flees to London after being betrayed by her husband, to be with her beloved cousin Ralph on his deathbed. After a sombre, silent existence at her husbands Roman palazzo, Isabels daring escape to London reawakens her youthful quest for freedom and independence, as old suitors resurface and loyal friends remind her of happier times. But soon Isabel must decide whether to return to Rome to face up to the web of deceit in which she has become entangled, or to strike out on her own once more.
Von der Liebe, der Kunst und dem Scheitern - der neue Roman von John Banville. Oliver ist nicht nur ein Maler, den die Inspiration verlassen hat, sondern er ist auch ein Kleptomane, dem es ein fast erotisches Vergngen bereitet, anderen Menschen persnliche Dinge zu entwenden. Als Polly, die Frau seines besten Freundes Marcus, zum Objekt seiner Begierde wird, nimmt eine tragische Entwicklung ihren Lauf.Im Zentrum von John Banvilles neuem Roman steht eine Viererkonstellation: zwei befreundete Ehepaare und die Dynamiken, die sich zwischen ihnen Bahn brechen. Protagonist Oliver war einmal ein erfolgreicher Maler, der eine glckliche Ehe mit seiner Frau Gloria fhrte, doch beides gehrt der Vergangenheit an. Nachdem die Affre mit Polly, der Frau seines besten Freundes, ans Licht gekommen ist, hat er sich in sein Elternhaus zurckgezogen und denkt nach, ber die Liebe, die Kunst und den Tod, ber Schuld und ber menschliche Beziehungen, im Allgemeinen und im Besonderen. Doch dabei muss er bald erkennen, dass auch er einer Tuschung aufgesessen ist und die Rollen von Betrger und Betrogenem - und von Schuld und Unschuld - nicht ganz so klar umrissen sind wie zunchst angenommen.Eine sprachlich und intellektuell beeindruckende Kontemplation ber die Liebe, die Kunst und das Scheitern in beiden Disziplinen - John Banville begeistert einmal mehr.
'If you're interested in Dublin, or if you're interested in the novelist John Banville, or if you're interested in radiantly superb sentences about whatever - I'm all three - then Time Pieces: A Dublin Memoir is a book you'll not be able to put down' The Guardian 'A trove of arresting imagery, from the lushly poetic to the luridly absurd ... utterly delightful' Irish Times 'Delicious ... Banville's soarings, like a hawk's, are both wild and comprehensive, taking in everything and imagining more' New York Times For the young John Banville, Dublin was a place of enchantment and yearning. Each year, on his birthday - the 8th of December, Feast of the Immaculate Conception - he and his mother would journey by train to the capital city, passing frosted pink fields at dawn, to arrive at Westland Row and the beginning of a day's adventures that included much-anticipated trips to Clery's and the Palm Beach ice-cream parlour. The aspiring writer first came to live in the city when he was eighteen. In a once grand but now dilapidated flat in Upper Mount Street, he wrote and dreamed and hoped. It was a cold time, for society and for the individual - one the writer would later explore through the famed Benjamin Black protagonist Quirke - but underneath the seeming permafrost a thaw was setting in, and Ireland was beginning to change. Alternating between vignettes of Banville's own past, and present-day historical explorations of the city, Time Pieces is a vivid evocation of childhood and memory - that 'bright abyss' in which 'time's alchemy works' - and a tender and powerful ode to a formative time and place for the artist as a young man. Accompanied by images of the city by photographer Paul Joyce.
From John Banville, one of the world's greatest writers, comes The Blue Guitar, a story of theft and the betrayal of friendship. Adultery is always put in terms of thieving. But we were happy together, simply happy. Oliver Orme used to be a painter, well known and well rewarded, but the muse has deserted him. He is also, as he confesses, a petty thief; he does not steal for gain, but for the thrill of it. HIs worst theft is Polly, the wife of his friend Marcus, with whom he has had an affair. When the affair is discovered, Oliver hides himself away in his childhood home. From here he tells the story of a year, from one autumn to the next. Many surprises and shocks await him, and by the end of his story, he will be forced to face himself and seek a road towards redemption. Shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year 2016
'Sleek, beautiful, breathtakingly cunning prose' Sunday Times Athena is the third in the Frames Trilogy, a set of loosely connected novels by the Booker Prize-winning author, John Banville. Morrow - a clerkish, middle-aged type encumbered with a chain-smoking dying aunt and a considerable talent for wallowing - is at a loose end when, on two separate occasions, he is beckoned up the stairs of an empty Dublin house. The first is an offer of dubious work, and Morrow soon becomes caught up in a conspiracy to authenticate a series of fake paintings. The second, possibly even odder, is an offer of a love - of a sort. Written in typically luminous prose and featuring a rich cast of characters, Athena is a paean to art, painting, and love, in all its mercurial richness.
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