Books

Mrs Osmond

John Banville

Having fled Rome and a stultifying marriage, Isabel Osmond is in London, brooding on the recent disclosure of her husband's shocking, years-long betrayal of her. What should she do now, and which way should she turn, in the emotional labyrinth where she has been trapped for so long? Reawakened by grief and the knowledge of having been grievously wronged, she determines to resume her youthful quest for freedom and independence.

Soon Isabel must return to Italy and confront her husband, and seek to break his powerful hold on her. But will she succeed in outwitting him, and securing her revenge?

Mrs Osmond is a masterly novel of betrayal, corruption and moral ambiguity, from the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sea.

The Blue Guitar

John Banville

From John Banville, one of the world's greatest writers, comes The Blue Guitar, a story of theft and the betrayal of friendship.

Adultery is always put in terms of thieving. But we were happy together, simply happy.

Oliver Orme used to be a painter, well known and well rewarded, but the muse has deserted him. He is also, as he confesses, a petty thief; he does not steal for gain, but for the thrill of it. HIs worst theft is Polly, the wife of his friend Marcus, with whom he has had an affair. When the affair is discovered, Oliver hides himself away in his childhood home. From here he tells the story of a year, from one autumn to the next. Many surprises and shocks await him, and by the end of his story, he will be forced to face himself and seek a road towards redemption.

Shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year 2016

The Book of Evidence & The Sea

John Banville (and others)

The Book of Evidence, shortlisted for the Booker prize in 1989 and The Sea, which won the Booker prize in 2005, take us into the hauntingly confused worlds of two ageing male protagonists - washed- up scientist Freddie Montgomery, desperate to explain why he is being held in an Irish prison for murder (The Book of Evidence) and recently widowed art historian Max Morden, who has returned to a sleepy seaside boarding house to relive the events of his first adolescent awakenings (The Sea). With spellbinding virtuosity, Banville piles ambiguity upon ambiguity to construct tense tales of sex, betrayal and self-deception, which keep us turning the page, while questioning our own certainties about memory and identity. In both works, the acclaimed Irish novelist is revealed at his masterful best, conjuring dark wit, suspense and drama from the stunning lyrical beauty of his near-perfect prose.

Ancient Light

John Banville

'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 thirty-five-year-old 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. Half a century later, actor Alexander Cleave - grieving for the recent loss of his daughter - recalls these trysts, trying to make sense of the boy he was and of the needs and frailties of the human heart.

The Drowning Pool

Ross Macdonald (and others)

When Maude Slocum - beautiful, frightened and angry - comes to Lew Archer's office with a poison pen letter intended for her husband, he reluctantly agrees to help her. As he follows the Slocums around, Archer finds that Mrs Slocum might have the least of the family's troubles: her teenage daughter is desolate, her husband is in the closet and her mother-in-law has just come to an unpleasant end in the swimming pool. But why is their handsome ex-chauffeur still hanging around? And what does the sinister Pacific Refinery Company have to do with the all the bloodshed?

The Drowning Pool is Ross Macdonald's gripping tale of adultery, jealousy, murder and lies.

Ross Macdonald's Lew Archer mysteries rewrote the conventions of the detective novel with their credible, humane hero, and with Macdonald's insight and moral complexity won new literary respectability for the hardboiled genre previously pioneered by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. They have also received praise from such celebrated writers as William Goldman, Jonathan Kellerman, Eudora Welty and Elmore Leonard.

Roger's Version

John Banville (and others)

Middle-aged, brilliant and bored, Roger Lambert is a professor of Divinity at a New England university. Firmly convinced that religious belief can only justified by recourse to pure faith, he is dismissive when visited by a gangling student who claims, with evangelical zeal, that computer technology is on the brink of proving the existence of God. But when his unhappy wife flings herself into an affair with the younger man, and Roger's faith in his own placid life is thrown into question. With his marriage close to collapse, he finds himself increasingly drawn to his own half-niece, the nineteen-year-old Verna, in this cunning and comic exploration of religion, uncertainty and passion.

Biography

John Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. He is the author of fifteen previous novels including The Sea, which won the 2005 Man Booker Prize. In 2011 he was awarded the Franz Kafka Prize, in 2013 he was awarded the Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Achievement in Irish Literature, and in 2014 he won the Prince of Asturias Award, Spain's most important literary prize. He lives in Dublin.