Saturday, October 6, 2012

Review–Ancient Light, John Banville

This is a completely wonderful book. Reading it these past few days has been like being fed rich, flavourful, night-coloured chocolate. I’m sure you know the kind I mean –the kind you have to eat one square at a time, the kind that comforts, surprises, and dare I say  - dazzles.

I have been a Banville fan for some time and with this book he has surpassed himself. Ancient LIght –what a great title – has multiple stories woven like fine wool, told with ease and intimacy, and that all of them are slightly unfinished matters not a jot. I’m not sure I liked the story teller but I believed him, I fell for his sorrow, his guile: his story reeled me in. The rest of the cast were a motley bunch of people, all very much alive and active in support of the protagonist’s journey of memory and renewal. Mrs Grey, Billie Stryker, Kitty et al. … each slowly emerges out of the story with force, and no-one is redundant, each is part of the whole from the beginning to the end.

And now I am only left to read it again (and again) and that will be another pleasure. Please read Ancient Light and let me know what you think. This blog entry may sound as though I have shares in Banville Ltd –no, its nothing like that, its just that this is simply a perfect piece of extended prose. 

I am now reading an Icelandic crime noir –Black Skies by By Arnaldur Indridason. A serendipitous find while unpacking and sorting out all my books as part of moving into my 1st floor space at Enmatte. To continue the food metaphor this book is easily digested, the words slip from page to mind –a whodunit with the usual broody detective –part of my light diet of reading. An OK book but soon finished and forgotten.. I doubt I’ll re-read this one, though another by the same author would be fine.

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