Author: John Banville (a.k.a.: Benjamin Black)

Information about the author also known as Benjamin Black

Works

Book:Christine Falls

Christine Falls: A Novel

Benjamin Black

In the debut crime novel from the Booker-winning author, a Dublin pathologist follows the corpse of a mysterious woman into the heart of a conspiracy among the city’s high Catholic society.

It’s not the dead that seem strange to Quirke. It’s the living. One night, after a few drinks at an office party, Quirke shuffles down into the morgue where he works and finds his brother-in-law, Malachy, altering a file he has no business even reading. Odd enough in itself to find Malachy there, but the next morning, when the haze has lifted, it looks an awful lot like his brother-in-law, the esteemed doctor, was in fact tampering with a corpse—and concealing the cause of death.

It turns out the body belonged to a young woman named Christine Falls. And as Quirke reluctantly presses on toward the true facts behind her death, he comes up against some insidious—and very well-guarded—secrets of Dublin’s high Catholic society,…[more]

Book:The Sea

The Sea

John Banville

When Max Morden returns to the coastal town where he spent a holiday in his youth he is both escaping from a recent loss and confronting a distant trauma. The Grace family appear that long ago summer as if from another world. Drawn to the Grace twins, Chloe and Myles, Max soon finds himself entangled in their lives, which are as seductive as they are unsettling. What ensues will haunt him for the rest of his years and shape everything that is to follow.

John Banville is one of the most sublime writers working in the English language. Utterly compelling, profoundly moving and illuminating, The Sea is quite possibly the best thing he has ever written.

Book:Doctor Copernicus

Doctor Copernicus

John Banville

When Nicolas Copernicus (1473-1543) proved that the earth was not the center of the universe, man’s conception of his cosmos and his God broke down. That shattering situation, with the great astronomer at its hub, and the toll it took on him, his church, and his world, is what John Banville skillfully reveals in this novel.

Set in a fascinating, remote world, Doctor Copernicus transcends its context, making it at once an historical and a very modern novel.

“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.” (The Economist)

Book:The Untouchable

The Untouchable

John Banville

One of the most dazzling and adventurous writers now working in English takes on the enigma of the Cambridge spies in a novel of exquisite menace, biting social comedy, and vertiginous moral complexity. The narrator is the elderly Victor Maskell, formerly of British intelligence, for many years art expert to the Queen. Now he has been unmasked as a Russian agent and subjected to a disgrace that is almost a kind of death. But at whose instigation?

As Maskell retraces his tortuous path from his recruitment at Cambridge to the airless upper regions of the establishment, we discover a figure of manifold doubleness: Irishman and Englishman; husband, father, and lover of men; betrayer and dupe. Beautifully written, filled with convincing fictional portraits of Maskell’s co-conspirators, and vibrant with the mysteries of loyalty and identity, The Untouchable places John Banville in the select company of both Conrad and le Carre.

Book:Ghosts (John Banville)

Ghosts

John Banville

A group of strangers, passengers on a day-boat that runs aground, are washed up on an island. Shaken and sodden, they nonetheless make quick work of the situation at hand. But what is the situation? They’ve invaded the closely protected enclave of an eminent art historian, but their presence seems to rouse in the historian’s assistant a long-ripening hunger for company.

Certainly the grounding of the boat was an accident, but one of the passengers seems to know the professor and to have an air of purpose about him. Why as their day on the island progresses, do they seem to inhabit a series of weighty tableaux? And who is the man who moves among them as both spectator and player, the nameless, seemingly haunted narrator whose sensibility is the sometimes clarifing, sometimes distorting lens through which we view the action?

Invoking all lost souls and enchanted islands, Ghosts gives us a brilliant mix of gaiety and menace to tell a story about the failures and triumphs of the imagination, about time’s passage, and about the frailty of human happiness. It is an exquisitely written novel—stately and theatrical—by one of the most widely admired and acclaimed writers at work today.

Book:The Book of Evidence

The Book of Evidence

John Banville

John Banville’s stunning powers of mimicry are brilliantly on display in this engrossing novel, the darkly compelling confession of an improbable murderer.

Freddie Montgomery is a highly cultured man, a husband and father living the life of a dissolute exile on a Mediterranean island. When a debt comes due and his wife and child are held as collateral, he returns to Ireland to secure funds. That pursuit leads to murder. And here is his attempt to present evidence, not of his innocence, but of his life, of the events that lead to the murder he committed because he could. Like a hero out of Nabokov or Camus, Montgomery is a chillingly articulate, self-aware, and amoral being, whose humanity is painfully on display.

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