John Banville, ANCIENT LIGHT. Please join us in wishing John Banville a happy 72nd birthday today. These five books are a great introduction to John Banville, an Irish novelist who has won many awards for his compelling works of fiction.
John Banville, ANCIENT LIGHT. ABOUT ANCIENT LIGHT Is there a difference between memory and invention? That is the question that haunts Alexander Cleave as he reflects on his first, and perhaps only, love-an underage affair with his best friend’s mother. Posted by the author’s publisher).
John Banville ANCIENT LIGHT in memoriam Caroline Walsh The Bud is in flower. I feel as fit as a Flea. Catherine Cleave, in childhood Part I Billy Gray was my best friend and I fell in love with his mother. Love may be too strong a word but I do not know a weaker one that will apply. He bathed even more infrequently than the rest of us did, as indicated by that intimate, brownish whiff he gave off on occasion; also the pores in the grooves beside his nostrils were blackly clogged, and with a shiver of mingled relish and revulsion I would imagine getting at them with my thumbnails for pincers, after which I would certainly have had need.
Alex Clark on John Banville's return to old themes and characters
Alex Clark on John Banville's return to old themes and characters. It is a decade since John Banville's novel Shroud narrated the events that led up to the death of the painfully disturbed Cass Cleave, who threw herself from a church tower on to the rocks below in the Ligurian coastal town of Portovenere. Shroud was a continuation of sorts of Eclipse (2000), which imagined the return of classical actor Alexander Cleave, Cass's father, to his childhood home after a professional catastrophe. Subsequently, Banville wrote two further novels, including the Man Booker-winning The Sea, as well as inventing an entirely new writing persona as Benjamin Black.
Out of all this vagueness, out of this ancient light, John Banville, who is a character in his own book, has extracted something quite beautiful but which can also be ever so slightly annoying
Out of all this vagueness, out of this ancient light, John Banville, who is a character in his own book, has extracted something quite beautiful but which can also be ever so slightly annoying. I have read and enjoyed several of his books, The Sea being my favourite, and I've always found his style faultless so I had to ask myself why I found this one annoying.
Alexander Cleave Trilogy - 3 ). John Banville. Is there any difference between memory and invention? That is the question that fuels this stunning novel, written with the depth of character, the clarifying lyricism, and the heart-wrenching humor that have marked all of John Banville’s extraordinary works. And it is the question.
In Banville’s latest novel, Ancient Light, there is the added distorting mirror of a movie version of events long past. The biopic in which the narrator, an aging actor named Alexander Cleave, is unexpectedly invited to star - landing this plum part without applying for it, without even an audition - is called, to hammer home the point, The Invention of the Past. What brings these two events - or, rather, Cleave’s shape-shifting memory of them - together is the movie, in which he will play Axel Vander, a famous literary critic with an unsavory past.
Banville published his first book, a collection of short stories titled Long Lankin, in 1970. The third trilogy consists of Eclipse, Shroud and Ancient Light, all of which concern the characters Alexander and Cass Cleave. He wrote fondly of John McGahern, who lost his job amid condemnation by his workplace and the Catholic Church for becoming intimately involved with a foreign woman.
Fortunately, Ancient Light is Banville at the top of his form. As usual, the plot of this novel is easy. Alexander Cleave is an aging theater actor who gets an opportunity to star in a film alongside a young, beautiful, troubled young woman, Dawn Davenport. Ancient Light despite its title is only about the relative recent past and the light might be the one that keeps going on in your head when you get it, as they say. This book is told to us by the main character, Alex Cleave, whom you will recall from Banville's Eclipse (2000). The story is told from the standpoint of Cleave as a 65 year old (Banville's age) who is a retired stage actor.
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 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.