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Kunsthistorikeren Max Morden er vendt tilbage til den kystby, hvor han tilbragte sine ferier som dreng - en retræte fra den sorg, vrede og tomhed, han føler, efter at hans kone nylig er død af kræft. Men det er også en tilbagevenden til det sted, hvor han som 10-11-årig mødte den velhavende ferierende Grace-familie og første gang oplevede kærlighed, sex og pludselig død. Mødet med familien, der bestod af den forførende mor, den herskende far og tvillingerne - Cloe, heftig og ligefrem, og Myles, stum og udtryksløs - viser sig at have haft afgørende betydning for Max og hans skæbne. Sammenvævet med denne historie er minderne om hans kone Anna - om deres liv sammen, om hendes død - og de både betydningsfulde og trivielle begivenheder i hans nuværende liv: Hans relation til sin voksne datter, Claire, der desperat forsøger at vække ham af sorgen, og hans samvær med pensionatets omsorgsfulde værtinde Miss Vavasour og den noget patetiske medlogerende pensionerede oberst. "... de forskellige tidslige planer glider ind og ud af hinanden i denne velskrevne og krævende roman, hvor erindringsspor og associationer dominerer." - Per Krogh Hansen, Berlingske, ***** "Mesterlig prisvinder. Der er en nærmest dæmonisk kraft i John Banvilles Havet. Selv om Max Morden får svar på nogle af sine spørgsmål derude i det frivillige eksil ved havet, er det ikke nok til at give retning til et liv, der forekommer ham grundlæggende meningsløst. Den smule mening, der er at hente, er i selve overvejelserne om det, og det er netop dem, læseren indvies så intimt i. Den intimitet er der så til gengæld så meget, ja næsten dæmonisk kraft i, at læseren nødvendigvis må konfrontere både fortællerens og egne oplevelser i Banvilles mesterligt udførte beretning om Max Mordens liv og gerninger." - Lars Ole Sauerberg, Jyllands-Posten, ***** "... mødet med barndommens land får slørede erindringer og kyniske livsbetragtninger til at flamme op - smukt skildret i Banvilles gnistrende visuelle prosa." - Frank Sebastian Hansen, Ekstra Bladet "I Havet står Banvilles stilistiske mesterskab i fuldt flor. Han balancerer flot mellem at lade Max Morden formulere sig skræmmende klart om sin egen fortid og liv med den kræftsyge hustru - samtidig med at Max udstilles, men ikke ukærligt, som lammet af sorg og eksistentiel krise. Det er intens og livsklog litteratur fra en irsk mesterforfatter med 15 romaner bag sig." - Michael Bach Henriksen, Kristeligt Dagblad
Don't disturb the dead. On the idyllic coast of San Sebastian, Spain, Dublin pathologist Quirke is struggling to relax - despite the beaches, the cafes and the company of his disarmingly lovely wife.
'The body is in the library,' Colonel Osborne said. 'Come this way.'Following the discovery of the corpse of a highly respected parish priest at Ballyglass House - the Co. Wexford family seat of the aristocratic, secretive Osborne family - Detective Inspector St John Strafford is called in from Dublin to investigate.
In Mrs. Osmond, John Banville continues the story of Isabel Archer, the young protagonist of Henry James's beloved The Portrait of a Lady. Eager but nave, in James's novel Isabel comes into a large, unforeseen inheritance and marries the charming, penniless, andas Isabel finds out too latecruel and deceitful Gilbert Osmond. Here Banville imagines Isabel's second chapter telling the story of a woman reawakened by grief and the knowledge that she has been grievously wronged, and determined to resume her quest for freedom and independence. A masterly novel of betrayal, corruption, and moral ambiguity, Mrs. Osmond would have thrilled James himself.
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.
A unique anthology devoted to a single story-"Signs and Symbols" by Vladimir Nabokov-which exposes the way we read and interpret short stories.
The darkly compelling confession of an improbable murderer, shortlisted for the 1989 Booker Prize.
'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 TimesFor 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.
The material collected here is a treasure trove, a fine retrospective and a comprehensive guide to the work of Ireland's greatest living novelist, John Banville. Selections are drawn from all of his novels, up to and including 2012's Ancient Light; each piece standing alone, short-story-like, but also resonating with those around it and representing the novel from which it comes. There are radio plays, some published in print for the first time here. There is a judicious selection of his essays and reviews. Perhaps most beguiling of all are the pieces of memoir, the early work (including Banville's first-ever piece of published fiction, from 1966) and the chance to see facsimiles of the handwritten first draft of the opening section of The Infinities. Possessed of a Past is an extraordinary document of the writer's life and work across nearly fifty years of practice, simultaneously offering the perfect introduction to Banville's sublime art and manna to devoted readers.
'Sleek, beautiful, breathtakingly cunning prose' Sunday TimesAthena 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.
Told with lyrical prose, John Banville's Birchwood is the elegiac story of the aristocratic decline of an eccentric family riddled with dark secrets.Once the big house on an Irish estate, Birchwood has turned into a baroque madhouse for its ruined inhabitants. One disaster succeeds another, until young Gabriel Godkin runs away to join a travelling circus and look for his long-lost twin sister. Soon he discovers that famine and unrest stalk the countryside, and Ireland is ruined too.
'Banville is superb . . . there are not many historical novels of which it can be said that they illuminate both the time that forms their subject matter and the time in which they are read: Doctor Copernicus is among the very best of them' The EconomistThe first in John Banville Revolutions Trilogy and winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, Doctor Copernicus is a rich historical novel that explores the life of one of history's greatest scientists. The work of Nicholas Koppernigk, better known as Copernicus, shattered the medieval view of the universe and led to the formulation of the image of the solar system we know today. Here his life is powerfully evoked in a novel that offers a vivid portrait of a man of painful reticence, haunted by a malevolent brother and baffled by the conspiracies that rage around him and his ideas while he searches for the secret of life.
The first of John Banville's novels concerning father and daughter Alexander and Cass Cleave, Eclipse is a lyrical exploration of memory, family and identity.Alexander Cleave, actor, has left his career and his family behind and banished himself to his childhood home. He wants to retire from life, but finds this impossible in a house brimming with presences, some ghostly, some undeniably human. Memories, anxiety for the future and more particularly for his beloved but troubled daughter, conspire to distract him from his dreaming retirement. This humane and beautifully written story tells the tragic tale of a man, intelligent, preposterous and vulnerable, who in attempting to bring the performance to a close finds himself travelling inevitably towards a devastating denouement.
'Superbly illuminates the man, the time, and the everlasting quest for knowledge' Observer Johannes Kepler, born in 1571 in south Germany, was one of the world's greatest mathematicians and astronomers. The novel Kepler, by John Banville, brilliantly recreates his life and his incredible drive to chart the orbits of the planets and the geometry of the universe while being driven from exile to exile by religious and domestic strife. At the same time it illuminates the harsh realities of the Renaissance world; rich in imaginative daring but rooted in poverty, squalor and the tyrannical power of emperors.
Is there a numerical solution to the quest for the meaning of life? A brilliant reworking of the classic Dr Faustus theme by Booker Prize-winning author John Banville, Mefisto focuses on the mathematically gifted Gabriel Swan, who seeks a numerical solution to his quest for order and meaning in life.With characteristic wit and mesmeric prose, John Banville's richly imagined novel, Mefisto, is an ode to philosophy, beauty, and identity.
'Shroud will not be easily surpassed for its combination of wit, moral complexity and compassion. It is hard to see what more a novel could do' Irish TimesDark secrets and reality unravel in Shroud, the second of John Banville's three novels to feature Cass Cleave, alongside Eclipse and Ancient Light. Axel Vander, distinguished intellectual and elderly academic, is not the man he seems. When a letter arrives out of the blue, threatening to unveil his secrets - and carefully concealed identity - Vander travels to Turin to meet its author. There, muddled by age and alcohol, unable always to distinguish fact from fiction, Vander comes face to face with the woman who has the knowledge to unmask him, Cass Cleave. However, her sense of reality is as unreliable as his, and the two are quickly drawn together, their relationship dark, disturbed and doomed to disaster from its very start.
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 2016Praise for Ancient Light:'Everything I want from a love story: sexy, convincing, baffling, funny, sad and unforgettable' Evening Standard, Books of the Year'Illuminating, funny, devastating. A meditation of breathtaking beauty and profundity on love and loss and death' Financial Times
'A nearly perfectly fashioned work of art . . . The Newton Letter gave this reader such pleasurable excitement that he found it impossible to concentrate on anything until he had read it again to make sure that it seemed as good on the second reading. It did.' Irish TimesIn John Banville's The Newton Letter, a historian, on the brink of completing a book on Isaac Newton, rents a cottage in southern Ireland for the summer. As the summer wears on and he dissects Newton's mental collapse of 1693 he becomes distracted by the mysterious occupants of Fern House and finds himself constructing their imagined histories to powerful effect. His elaborate attempts to decipher the complex web of relationships are, however, far from accurate . . .
'A beautiful, beguiling book full of resonances that continue to sound long after you've turned the final page. Its imagining is magical, its execution dazzlingly skilful.' Sunday Tribune Ghosts opens with a shipwreck, leaving a party of sightseers temporarily marooned on an island. The stranded castaways make their way towards the big isolated house which is home to the reclusive Professor Silas Kreutznaer and his laconic assistant, Licht, but it is also home to another, unnamed presence . . . Onto this seemingly haunted island, where a strange singing hangs in the air, John Banville drops an intriguing cast of characters - including a murderer - and weaves a tale where the details are clear but the conclusion polymorphous - shifting appearances, transformations and thwarted assumptions make this world of uneasy calm utterly enthralling.
'This is unequivocally a work of brilliance.' Justin Cartwright, Spectator Old Adam Godley's time on earth is drawing to an end, and as his wife and children gather at the family home, little do they realize that they are not the only ones who have come to observe the spectacle. The mischievous Greek gods, too, have come; as tensions fray and desire bubbles over, their spying soon becomes intrusion becomes intervention, until the mortals' lives - right before their eyes - seem to be changing faster than they can cope with. Overflowing with bawdy humour, John Banville has allowed his twinkling eye to rove through memories of the past and relationships of the present in this moving family drama. The Infinities is both a salacious delight and a penetrating exploration of the terrifying, wonderful, immutable plight of being human.
'The Untouchable is an engrossing, exquisitely written and almost bewilderingly smart book . . . It's the fullest book I've read in a very long time, utterly accomplished, thoroughly readable, written by a novelist of vast talent' Richard Ford Victor Maskell has been betrayed. After the announcement in the Commons and the hasty revelation of his double life of wartime espionage, his disgrace is public, his knighthood revoked, his position as curator of the Queen's pictures terminated. There are questions to be answered. For whom has he been sacrificed? To what has he sacrificed his life?The Untouchable is beautifully crafted novel inspired by the famous Cambridge Spies by John Banville, the author of the Booker prize-winning The Sea.
'A masterly study of grief, memory and love recollected' Professor John Sutherland, Chair of Judges, Man Booker Prize 2005The Sea is John Banville's Man Booker prize-winning exploration of memory, childhood and loss. When art historian Max Morden returns to the seaside village where he once spent a childhood holiday, he is both escaping from a recent loss and confronting a distant trauma. The Grace family had appeared that long-ago summer as if from another world. Mr and Mrs Grace, with their worldly ease and candour, were unlike any adults he had met before. But it was his contemporaries, the Grace twins Myles and Chloe, who most fascinated Max. He grew to know them intricately, even intimately, and what ensued would haunt him for the rest of his years and shape everything that was to follow.
John Banville's Ancient Light is a story of obsessive young love and the power of grief '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.Praise for Ancient Light:'Brilliant. Banville excels in his brightly lit descriptions of self-absorbed teenage lust', Guardian'Dazzling . . . captures a long-lost adolescent world of passion and desire', Independent'Banville perfectly captures the spirit of adolescence ... This is a luminous breathtaking work', Independent on SundayJohn Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. He is the author of fourteen previous novels including The Sea, which won the 2005 Man Booker Prize. He was recently awarded the Franz Kafka Prize. He lives in Dublin.
Takes us into the hauntingly confused worlds of two ageing male protagonists - washed-up scientist Freddie Montgomery, desperate to explain why he is being held in an Irish prison for murder and recently widowed art historian Max Morden, who has returned to a sleepy seaside boarding house to relive the events of his first adolescent awakenings.
'Hubert Butler is one of the great essayists in the English language, the peer of Hazlitt, Robert Louis Stevenson and George Orwell.' -- John Banville
Kunsthistorikeren Max Morden er vendt tilbage til den kystby, hvor han tilbragte sine ferier som dreng – en retræte fra den sorg, vrede og tomhed, han føler, efter at hans kone nylig er død af kræft. Men det er også en tilbagevenden til det sted, hvor han som 10-11-årig mødte den velhavende ferierende Grace-familie og første gang oplevede kærlighed, sex og pludselig død. Mødet med familien, der bestod af den forførende mor, den herskende far og tvillingerne – Chloe, heftig og ligefrem, og Myles, stum og udtryksløs – viser sig at have haft afgørende betydning for Max og hans skæbne.Sammenvævet med denne historie er minderne om hans kone Anna – om deres liv sammen, om hendes død – og de både betydningsfulde og trivielle begivenheder i hans nuværende liv: Hans relation til sin voksne datter, Claire, der desperat forsøger at vække ham af sorgen, og hans samvær med pensionatets omsorgsfulde værtinde Miss Vavasour og den noget patetiske medlogerende pensionerede oberst."Et mesterligt studie i erindret sorg, minder og kærlighed." – John Sutherland, formand for juryen, Man Booker Prize, 2005"Mesterlig prisvinder. Der er en nærmest dæmonisk kraft i John Banvilles Havet. Selv om Max Morden får svar på nogle af sine spørgsmål derude i det frivillige eksil ved havet, er det ikke nok til at give retning til et liv, der forekommer ham grundlæggende meningsløst. Den smule mening, der er at hente, er i selve overvejelserne om det, og det er netop dem, læseren indvies så intimt i. Den intimitet er der så til gengæld så meget, ja næsten dæmonisk kraft i, at læseren nødvendigvis må konfrontere både fortællerens og egne oplevelser i Banvilles mesterligt udførte beretning om Max Mordens liv og gerninger." – Lars Ole Sauerberg, Jyllandsposten, *****"... de forskellige tidslige planer glider ind og ud af hinanden i denne velskrevne og krævende roman, hvor erindringsspor og associationer dominerer." – Per Krogh Hansen, Berlingske, *****"I Havet står Banvilles stilistiske mesterskab i fuldt flor. Han balancerer flot mellem at lade Max Morden formulere sig skræmmende klart om sin egen fortid og liv med den kræftsyge hustru – samtidig med at Max udstilles, men ikke ukærligt, som lammet af sorg og eksistentiel krise. Det er intens og livsklog litteratur fra en irsk mesterforfatter med 15 romaner bag sig." – Michael Bach Henriksen, Kristeligt Dagblad"Prisvindende lille perle af en roman af den irske forfatter, hvis sprog ejer en særlig poetisk tæthed og skarphed. På sin vis virker hele fortællingen som én lang udånding, skrevet hjertegribende smukt i en træfsikker oversættelse. Banvilles temaer er sorg, sorgbearbejdelse, barndom, menneskelige relationer og erindring." – Sanne Caft, Lektørudtalelse