[ Reading ] ➶ Ghosts Author John Banville – Higo2cam.info

Ghosts The past was gathering eventhickly around me, I waded through it numbly like a greased swimmer, waiting to feel the chill and the treacherous undertow It was not supposed to be like this I would have never expected that I would have to struggle to get through a John Banville s book Yet I did It took me three weeks to read Ghosts 1993 and the first hundred pages were the most difficult Despite Banville s trademarks, extraordinarily accomplished prose and the underlying wisdom shinin The past was gathering eventhickly around me, I waded through it numbly like a greased swimmer, waiting to feel the chill and the treacherous undertow It was not supposed to be like this I would have never expected that I would have to struggle to get through a John Banville s book Yet I did It took me three weeks to read Ghosts 1993 and the first hundred pages were the most difficult Despite Banville s trademarks, extraordinarily accomplished prose and the underlying wisdom shining through page after page, I could not connect with the text I did not understand the events and the characters sounded artificial to me, like empty templates, promises of something that might possibly come in the future For instance, Alice and Flora what are they about Why should I care about seven castaways from a ship grounded on a coast of an island Or about their intersecting the lives of Professor Kreutznaer and his faithful companion Licht Later, things began making a littlesense A connection to Banville s The Book of Evidence is revealed The motif of a fictitious French painter, Vaublin, and his Le monde d or emerges There areextraordinary passages of prose like The world was luminous around him Everything shone out of itself, shaking in its own radiance There was movement everywhere even the most solid objects seemed to seethe, the table under his hands, the chair on which he sat, the very walls themselves And he too trembled, as if his whole frame had been struck like a tuning fork against the hard, bright surface of things or And somehow by being suddenly herself like this she made the things around her be there too In her, and in what she spoke, the world, the little world in which we sat, found its grounding and was realized It was as if she had dropped a condensed drop of colour into the water of the world and the colour had spread and the outlines of things had sprung into bright relief The thread of travel with Billy, first to the narrator s house, then to the ship, and eventually to the island will captivate the reader s attention As will the cool story about a mayor of a Spanish village sitting for a painting.Naturally, I don t regret that I persevered and finished the novel While I am probably too obtuse to fully comprehend its meaning, I suspect that the author gives the reader a hint in the following passage I would look out the window and see that little band of castaways toiling up the road to the house and a door would open into another world Oh, a little door, hardly enough for me to squeeze through, but a door, all the same The charming story of the narrator s relationship with Mrs Vanden reminds me of Cees Nooteboom, to me the best writer of literature for adults Still, the beauty of prose remains the best aspect of Ghosts Mr Banville makes a worthy companion to James Joyce, Patrick White, or Vladimir Nabokov among the most accomplished masters of the English language I still have a lotBanville to read.Three stars Ratings 1 to 5 Writing 4Plot 2Characters 2Emotional impact 2Overall rating 2.5NotesFavorite character s Favorite quotes the wind of something that was almost happiness wafted through them all p.7 He had a disjointed, improvised air, as if he had been put together in haste from disparate bits and pieces of other people p.12 fear always holds at its throbbing centre that little, thin, unquenchable flame of pleasure p.114Other notes I was really impressed by this book initiall Ratings 1 to 5 Writing 4Plot 2Characters 2Emotional impact 2Overall rating 2.5NotesFavorite character s Favorite quotes the wind of something that was almost happiness wafted through them all p.7 He had a disjointed, improvised air, as if he had been put together in haste from disparate bits and pieces of other people p.12 fear always holds at its throbbing centre that little, thin, unquenchable flame of pleasure p.114Other notes I was really impressed by this book initially I loved the author s way of describing the characters and setting and was intrigued by the premise As the book progressed, though, the plot began to feel very disjointed to me and I could never quite get a hold of it somehow here is the thing about banville about the perfection of his prose you can be 38 pages into this book and read I too was eager already for change, for disorder, for the mess and confusion that people make of thingsCompany, that was what we wanted, the brute warmth of the presence of others to tell us we were alive after all, despite appearances and you will close the book and run your hand over the cover and stare off into the distance at a tree the way the light hits it in a square, ill here is the thing about banville about the perfection of his prose you can be 38 pages into this book and read I too was eager already for change, for disorder, for the mess and confusion that people make of thingsCompany, that was what we wanted, the brute warmth of the presence of others to tell us we were alive after all, despite appearances and you will close the book and run your hand over the cover and stare off into the distance at a tree the way the light hits it in a square, illuminating it there you will be reminded of your mother, one thousand miles away, on a couch drifting in and out of sleep after chemotherapy you will be remembering her at niagara falls and how she lifted you up on the railing to get a better view when you were four and one thousand miles away, you will see that great cataract, butimportantly, you will see the rail and feel her hands on you, holding you secure it s the railing the railing that was put there one hundred years ago by some lost hand and the connotations of that railing not the falls but your mother holding you and though you never saw her face, looking intently instead at the rush of water, know that she was smiling at your blonde hair and feeling your chest rise and fall with the wonder of it all Some people are ghosts, even when they are alive This is what makes this a horror story people When it is the usual stream of consciousness fare that it is Who writesbeautiful prose than Banville Absolutely no one.This isn t actually a ghost story, of course But if you love rare words and unique writing, and Ireland as I do, then this is the book for you, as it was for me. Worlds within worlds They bleed into each other I am at once here and there, then and now, as if by magic I think of the stillness that lives in the depths of mirrors It is not our world that is reflected there It is another place entirely, another universe, cunningly made to mimic ours Anything is possible there, even the dead may come back to life Flaws develop in the glass, patches of silvering fall away and reveal the inhabitants of that parallel, inverted world going about their live Worlds within worlds They bleed into each other I am at once here and there, then and now, as if by magic I think of the stillness that lives in the depths of mirrors It is not our world that is reflected there It is another place entirely, another universe, cunningly made to mimic ours Anything is possible there, even the dead may come back to life Flaws develop in the glass, patches of silvering fall away and reveal the inhabitants of that parallel, inverted world going about their lives all unawares And sometimes the glass turns to air and they step through it without a sound and walk into my world.This is Banville at his rather strange I expected a somewhat conventional sequel to The Book of Evidence, and was caught unawares like an inhabitant of the mirror The narrative switches between an omniscient, god, fly on the wall point of view and first person, and it is only during the paragraph above which I called, aptly enough, the mirror moment that the two perspectives twine and vaguely connect That happens about a fifth of the way through, but the feeling of disjointedness persists to the end Deliberately, I would say, though perhaps not entirely necessarily If I was not convinced by the story, I was in awe of the prose Sentence for sentence, Banville is nothing short of brilliant and I have lavished the margins with copious commentry I continue to be a devoted fan Confusingly, This guy gets a lot of grief on here for being pretentious But, to me it is an authentic pretentiousness, like art is Very unlike David Foster Wallace who tries to sound cooler than you or Michael Chabon who tries to sound smarter and who prolly are Yet again, upon rereading a Banville novel, I am somewhat embarrassed about my original review, particularly the comment about his style being unoriginal, a factual inaccuracy the plot does not continue in Athena , and a misreading of the plot and structure in general I still do not feel like I completely get what Banville is going for here, but I picked up on a number of implications that I had inexplicably missed on my first read through regarding the castaway characters and our narrator s Yet again, upon rereading a Banville novel, I am somewhat embarrassed about my original review, particularly the comment about his style being unoriginal, a factual inaccuracy the plot does not continue in Athena , and a misreading of the plot and structure in general I still do not feel like I completely get what Banville is going for here, but I picked up on a number of implications that I had inexplicably missed on my first read through regarding the castaway characters and our narrator s reliability It s an odd novel, but intriguingly so.For anti posterity, my prior review On some level I guess I get the complaint that Ghosts doesn t really have a plot and that it sets up a premise and then mostly ignores it, though I think that s missing the point For one, it seems pretty clear that most of the plot points will be picked up in the next book Athena , butimportantly it s a book that isn t really terribly concerned with plot anyway Like Nabokov s Glory or The Gift there I go comparing Banville to N again , it s a slow meditation, and the enjoyment comes from the writing itself which is masterly and from becoming immersed in Freddie Montgomery s thoughts on life after jail Sure it moves slowly, but it allows you to savor the prose and the details, and I can t stress enough how good Banville is at those things What did surprise me was just how emotionally effecting Freddie s meditations are I didn t mind watching what appeared to be the main plot fade to the background as the first person narration came to the fore, as the latter interested me far.As with other Banville novels, his style isn t particularly original, but it doesn t change the fact that he still executes it perfectly, and this type of writing requires a novelist of the highest talent to pull off without sounding self indulgent or masturbatory Regardless of what some might argue, I don t think Banville is ever either of those things A very intriguing, beautifully written novel, but not what I ever thought I d like There s no plot, it s rambling, emotionally diffuse and self indulgentso why did I like it so well that I m going to start the sequel, Athena, immediately The wit, wrenching self exploration, and poetical expression of the narrator, Freddie Montgomery, are enormously affecting, both aesthetically and empathetically.In The Book of Evidence, Freddie committed murder, and Ghosts can be likened to Crime and P A very intriguing, beautifully written novel, but not what I ever thought I d like There s no plot, it s rambling, emotionally diffuse and self indulgentso why did I like it so well that I m going to start the sequel, Athena, immediately The wit, wrenching self exploration, and poetical expression of the narrator, Freddie Montgomery, are enormously affecting, both aesthetically and empathetically.In The Book of Evidence, Freddie committed murder, and Ghosts can be likened to Crime and Punishment if it had continued after Raskalnikov went to jail Freddie s struggle with his own guilt and all its ramifications is very powerful I m wondering if Banville will locate Freddie s redemption if, indeed, he ever finds it in religion, as did Dostoevsky For, as Freddie realizes he cannot atone for his crime, it seems the only solution is grace, a forgiveness not based on his merits And isn t Freddie an everyman in this respect As Hamlet affirms, use every man after his desert, and who shall scape whipping Everything in this world resembles something else so Ghosts vaguely echoesThe Tempestby William Shakespeare And the island is something between Aeaea Circe s home isle, and the Land of Nod the place of Cain s exile.Extraordinary the look of things at dusk then, it might have been another planet, with that pale vault of sky, those crouched and hesitant, dreamy distances I wandered about the house, going softly through the stillness and shadows, and sometimes I would lose myself, I mea Everything in this world resembles something else so Ghosts vaguely echoesThe Tempestby William Shakespeare And the island is something between Aeaea Circe s home isle, and the Land of Nod the place of Cain s exile.Extraordinary the look of things at dusk then, it might have been another planet, with that pale vault of sky, those crouched and hesitant, dreamy distances I wandered about the house, going softly through the stillness and shadows, and sometimes I would lose myself, I mean I would flow out of myself somehow and be as a phantom, a patch of moving dark against the lighter darkness all around me.Those shipwrecked are personages descended from Harlequin and Columbine the painting by Jean Antoine Watteau the disagreeable characters with their disagreeable past, except the children, of course, the children are bound for their disagreeable future Professor Silas Kreutznaer is a kind of Prospero and Freddie Montgomery is a sort of Caliban.This lovely world, and we the only blot on the landscape We, or just me Sometimes I think I can feel the world recoiling from me, as if from the touch of some uncanny, cold and sticky thing.The ghosts of his past are still tormenting Freddie and he still keeps wondering how he could fall so low and turn into such a beast What statue of myself did I erect long ago, I wonder Must have been a gargoyle Diderot developed a theory of ethics based on the idea of the statue if we would be good, he said, we must become sculptors of the self Virtue is not natural to us we achieve it, if at all, through a kind of artistic striving, cutting and shaping the material of which we are made, the intransigent stone of selfhood, and erecting an idealised effigy of ourselves in our own minds and in the minds of those around us and living as best we can according to its sublime example.When we all learn to sculpt our own virtues then, at last, we ll become true human beings In This Brilliantly Haunting New Novel, John Banville Forges An Unforgettable Amalgam Of Enchantment And Menace That Suggests Both The Tempest And His Own Acclaimed The Book Of Evidence A Surreal And Exquisitely Lyrical New Novel By One Of The Great Stylists Writing In English Today Boston Globe


About the Author: John Banville

Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland His father worked in a garage and died when Banville was in his early thirties his mother was a housewife He is the youngest of three siblings his older brother Vincent is also a novelist and has written under the name Vincent Lawrence as well as his own His sister Vonnie Banville Evans has written both a children s novel and a reminiscence of growing up in Wexford.Educated at a Christian Brothers school and at St Peter s College in Wexford Despite having intended to be a painter and an architect he did not attend university Banville has described this as A great mistake I should have gone I regret not taking that four years of getting drunk and falling in love But I wanted to get away from my family I wanted to be free After school he worked as a clerk at Aer Lingus which allowed him to travel at deeply discounted rates He took advantage of this to travel in Greece and Italy He lived in the United States during 1968 and 1969 On his return to Ireland he became a sub editor at the Irish Press, rising eventually to the position of chief sub editor His first book, Long Lankin, was published in 1970.After the Irish Press collapsed in 1995, he became a sub editor at the Irish Times He was appointed literary editor in 1998 The Irish Times, too, suffered severe financial problems, and Banville was offered the choice of taking a redundancy package or working as a features department sub editor He left Banville has been a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books since 1990 In 1984, he was elected to Aosd na, but resigned in 2001, so that some other artist might be allowed to receive the cnuas.Banville also writes under the pen name Benjamin Black His first novel under this pen name was Christine Falls, which was followed by The Silver Swan in 2007 Banville has two adult sons with his wife, the American textile artist Janet Dunham They met during his visit to San Francisco in 1968 where she was a student at the University of California, Berkeley Dunham described him during the writing process as being like a murderer who s just come back from a particularly bloody killing Banville has two daughters from his relationship with Patricia Quinn, former head of the Arts Council of Ireland.Banville has a strong interest in vivisection and animal rights, and is often featured in Irish media speaking out against vivisection in Irish university research.


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