A luminous novel about love, loss, and the unpredictable power of memory.
The narrator is Max Morden, a middle-aged Irishman who, soon after his wife's
death, has gone back to the seaside town where he spent his summer holidays as a
childa retreat from the grief, anger, and numbness of his life without her. But
it is also a return to the place where he met the Graces, the well-heeled
vacationing family with whom he experienced the strange suddenness of both love
and death for the first time. The seductive mother; the imperious father; the
twinsChloe, fiery and forthright, and Myles, silent and expressionlessin whose
mysterious connection Max became profoundly entangled, each of them a part of
the "barely bearable raw immediacy" of his childhood memories.
Interwoven with this story are Morden's memories of his wife, Annaof their
life together, of her deathand the moments, both significant and mundane, that
make up his life now: his relationship with his grown daughter, Claire,
desperate to pull him from his grief; and with the other boarders at the house
where he is staying, where the past beats inside him "like a second heart."
What Max comes to understand about the past, and about its indelible effects
on him, is at the center of this elegiac, vividly dramatic, beautifully written
novelamong the finest we have had from this extraordinary writer.
The Washington Post - John Crowley
Banville's achievement seems remarkable to me. Banville appears to be fining down his writing to the central impulse of all his mature work, which he stated long ago in the extravagant Gothic tale Birchwood : "We imagine that we remember things as they were, while in fact all we carry into the future are fragments which reconstruct a wholly illusory past. The first death we witness will always be a murmur of voices down a corridor and a clock falling silent in the darkened room, the end of love is forever two cigarettes in a saucer and a white door closing.
Like the strange high tide that figures into Max's visions and remembrances, this novel sweeps the reader into the inexorable waxing and waning of life.
Library Journal - Barbara Hoffert
The novel is written in a complex, luminous prose that might strike some as occasionally overblown ... The result? A breathtaking but sometimes frustrating novel. Highly recommended.
Booklist - Brad Hooper
Starred Review. Winner of the 2005 Booker Prize for Fiction, Irishman Banville's new book does more than simply explore a life. It explores life.
The Booker Prize was
established by the Booker
McConnell company in 1969, and
is considered to be one of
most important literary awards
in the UK, if not the most
important. In recent years it
has been sponsored by the Man
Group, an investment company,
and thus is officially known as
The Man Booker Prize, but is
more often referred to simply as
Pierre Bonnard: Max has a
tendency to muse over the
paintings of Pierre Bonnard and
in particular Bonnard's
paintings of his wife, Marthe,
in the bath.
abcgallery.com has a good
collection of Bonnard's pictures
if you're interested in taking a
look, and if you do, spare a
thought for poor old Marthe and
think how lucky you...
British Parliament asks Amazon to clarify why it pays $9 million in income tax on $23 billion of UK sales.(May 20 2013) Amazon will be called back to give further evidence to members of the British Parliament "to clarify how its activities in the U.K. justify its low corporate...