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Download Ancient Light ePub

by John Banville

Download Ancient Light ePub
  • ISBN 0307957055
  • ISBN13 978-0307957054
  • Language English
  • Author John Banville
  • Publisher Knopf; First Edition edition (October 2, 2012)
  • Pages 304
  • Formats lit txt rtf doc
  • Category Fiction
  • Subcategory Genre Fiction
  • Size ePub 1450 kb
  • Size Fb2 1967 kb
  • Rating: 4.2
  • Votes: 402

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. When his stunted acting career is suddenly, inexplicably revived with a movie role playing a man who may not be who he claims, his young leading lady—famous and fragile—unwittingly gives him the opportunity to see, with startling clarity, the gap between the things he has done and the way he recalls them. Profoundly moving, Ancient Light is written with the depth of character, clarifying lyricism, and heart-wrenching humor that mark all of Man Booker Prize-winning author John Banville’s extraordinary works.

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.

Talk about Ancient Light


Survivors
John Banville is the kind of writer who either succeeds magnificently or presents a real challenge to the reader. His main weakness is that his plots are often secondary to his prose. When his prose succeeds, however, this doesn't really matter. But sometimes his tendency to choose a harder word when a simpler one will do can be difficult to take. When his prose approaches perfection and his plot is compelling, Banville is one of the great living writers. 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. But the main focus of Alexander's attention is his memories; two, in particular. First, is his recollection of his first love affair when, as a boy of fifteen he spend a summer being seduced by and bedding Mrs. Gray, the mother of his best friend. Second, is his struggle to understand his daughter, Cass, who struggles with illness and eventually commits suicide.

What is brilliant about this novel--apart from Banville's high-level prose that avoids his tendency towards odd vocabulary--is that it takes as its theme the individuality of the mind and the tenuousness of memory. This is seen in one way through the inability of Alexander to understand his daughter (and her stand-in, the young Dawn). More interesting, though, is his exploration of his memories of his pubescent affair. The way the seasons change, the way action takes place in the "wrong" setting, the way moments occur out of order (and Alexander's recognition of all this) bring a tension to the relationship between "fact" and "truth"; especially when Alexander gets a second perspective on his memories in the closing pages of the novel. It is a beautiful build throughout the novel to a strong climax.

Banville's last novel, The Infinities, was a bit of a disappointment; mainly with its plot, which is very difficult to take. This time out, however, Banville is back in highest form. It is one of his best novels and that includes his Booker Prize-winning The Sea.
Usic
This is the first Banville novel I've reviewed in some time. I've read almost the entirety of his corpus of work and yet...I feel a certain trepidation each time I embark on a new novel such as this one, a fear that he has lost his touch, his poetry, his wondrously crafted poeticisms that have so enthralled this reader since first encountering him so many years past....I needn't have fretted. What makes Banville the greatest writer in English still living and yet at the top of his form is not, per se, the investigations of the fleeting memory and imagination, of the erotic, of all that constitutes a life, but the bewitching richness of the prose in which he does so. It has a certain texture - the only word that comes close - to that of the inner life itself. His works cling to one as one might cling to something sacred. In this sense, his works truly approach the hierophantic - so deeply are they resonant of the joys and lashes that fall upon the soul of man. As our narrator herein, Alexander Cleave, in his grieved contemplation of the suicidal plunge of his daughter Cass, directly across the Bay of Spezia from where Percy Bysshe Shelley drowned, queries, "What turbulent depths had she leaned out over, what windy abyss called to her?" It's the sort of thing one asks of oneself, recalling certain moods and actions, when reading Banville. or, even more so, Shelley.

Many other fine reviews here quote Banville's affecting prose, as it is the only way to convey to the reader why this novel, along with his other work, is so sui-generis. Here, again, is our narrator contemplating the heartache he felt during the adolescent amour whose narration constitutes half the book:

"I will say this for suffering, that it lends a solemn weight to things and casts them in a starker, more revealing, light than any they have known hitherto. It expands the spirit, flays off a protective integument and leaves the inner self rawly exposed to the elements, the nerves all bared and singing like harp-strings in the wind."

Whosoever has not felt exactly like this at least one time in his or her life need read no further, and need not bother with this book or Banville, or Shelley, for that matter.

No, I shall not describe plot. As in all Banville novels, nothing happens - except in memory and imagination, except in what we are pleased to call "life", that is. Towards the end, our narrator wonders of himself that, "I seem to myself to move in bafflement, to move immobile, like the dim and hapless hero in a fairy tale, trammelled in thickets, balked in briar."

Don't we all seem to ourselves so, if only at times? All one has to do is to stop and to wonder, and remain so.

Ancient Light is full of this beautiful, sometimes terrible wonder at ourselves.