Athena

Athena

4.7 14
by John Banville
     
 

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From the internationally acclaimed author of The Book of Evidence and Ghosts comes a mesmerizing novel that is both a literary thriller and a love story as sumptuously perverse as Lolita. "A strange and dreamlike book . . . Banville has a breathtaking style."—Boston Globe.  See more details below

Overview

From the internationally acclaimed author of The Book of Evidence and Ghosts comes a mesmerizing novel that is both a literary thriller and a love story as sumptuously perverse as Lolita. "A strange and dreamlike book . . . Banville has a breathtaking style."—Boston Globe.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Irish novelist Banville offers a literary thriller in which his guilt-plagued narrator is drawn into both an art theft and a passionate affair with a mysterious woman. (June)
Library Journal
Art historian Morrow is hired by small-time crook Morden to authenticate and catalog a cache of eight paintings stored in a decrepit house. As Morden and his seedy assistant, Francie, lead Morrow through the house, a delicious sense of impending menace is evoked by simple things: the rising staircase; a door standing ajar; an intense, bright light; and a watching dog. Morrow's brief glimpse through a crumbling wall of a woman's leg in stockings and black high heels is the beginning of his increasingly destructive sexual obsession with the woman, identified only as A. Irish writer Banville has created such a fantastic feeling of suspense and foreboding in his slightly surreal world-with hints that Morrow may be the same ex-convict narrator of his earlier novels, The Book of Evidence (LJ 3/1/90) and Ghosts (LJ 9/15/93)-that the somewhat anticlimactic ending is a letdown. But Banville's sure way with language, style, and character development make this essential for literary collections. Highly recommended.-Patricia Ross, Westerville P.L., Ohio
Deanna Larson
Banville has a most distinctive and prodigious way with metaphor. His latest novel is narrated by a man for whom everything is like something else. Each of this narrator's sharply attuned sensory perceptions recalls earlier childhood memories, a whisper from his lover, or a vague piece of the past. He recollects his fateful story with strenuous precision, beginning by addressing his lost love in a sonorous, compelling voice: "If words can reach whatever world you may be suffering in, then listen, I have things to tell you." Memory can be unreliable, and he questions the relative truth of the fragmented, fateful events he presents. As an art expert with a criminal history, he is lured into authenticating ill-gotten paintings for a gang of underworld characters. His appraisals of these classically themed pictures echo, with critical detachment, a wild, doomed, duplicitous love affair he conducts in the house where he does his secret work. Only pieces of the picture are offered, and the story ends with its beginning. Loveless and duped by the criminals he was too apathetic to resist, the narrator continues his vague, existential drifting. His exacting recollections, oblique insights, and piercing hindsight result only in tragedy, not redemption.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307817198
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/14/2012
Series:
Vintage International
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
240
File size:
2 MB

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