Ancient Light
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Ancient Light

3.59 (2,449 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

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 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.Praise for Ancient Light:'Startlingly brilliant. Terrific - full of sadness and yearning' Sunday Telegraph'Dazzling . . . captures a long-lost adolescent world of passion and desire', Independent'Illuminating, funny, devastating. A meditation of breathtaking beauty and profundity on love and loss and death' Financial TimesJohn Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. He is the author of fourteen previous novels including The Sea, which won the 2005 Man Booker Prize. He was recently awarded the Franz Kafka Prize. He lives in Dublin.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 128 x 196 x 24mm | 240g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0241955408
  • 9780241955406
  • 137,346

Review quote

Glittering visual evocation, expressed in a tone at once fresh and wistfully ironic ... a world at once random, dreamlike and deeply experienced * The Sunday Times * 4 STARS. Banville proves here over and over that one can write with the true texture if erotic memory without resorting to titillation. He deserves to outsell Fifty Shades of Grey tenfold. * Sunday Express * 4 STARS. Prose that lingers on every last physical and psychological detail. * Metro * Banville does regretful roues better than almost anyone ... His use of language can also be startlingly brilliant ... Terrific ... full of sadness and yearning. * Sunday Telegraph * This dazzling novel captures a long-lost adolescent world of passion and desire. * Independent * ... ravishingly written and scrupulously observed * Irish Times * The Booker prize winning author - widely regarded as one of the greatest writers in English today - has produced what many already consider a literary masterpiece. * Sunday Independent * We now want them [novels] to provoke, cajole, edify, entertain, puzzle, divert, clarify and console. Banville's new novel does all these things and much more besides. * Irish Independent * Banville, with his forensic sensory memory, his great gift for textural (and textual) precision, his ability to inhabit not just a room, as a writer, but also the full weight of a breathing body, is exactly in his element here. * Observer * A novel criss-crossed with ghost roads and dead-ends and peopled by shifty characters who seem provisional even to themselves. It is written in Baville's customary prose, rhythmic and allusive and dense with suggestive imagery, prose and deliberately slows you down and frequently wrongfoots you. * Guardian * A bittersweet rumination on first love ... The language soars, full of the beauty of nature and the sadness of loss * Marie Claire * Banville perfectly captures the spirit of adolescence, the body yearning for sexual experience, the mind blurring eroticism and emotion ... Banville is a Nabokovian artist, his prose so rich, poetic and packed with startling imagery that reading it is akin to gliding regally through a lake of praline: it's a slow, stately process, delicious and to be savoured ... This is a luminous breathtaking work * Independent on Sunday * Ancient Light also bears resemblance to Lolita that extend beyond the obvious hallmark ecstatic prose..different periods of his life blending into a single meditation of breathtaking beauty and profundity on love and loss and death, the final page of which brought tears. * The Financial Times * A beautifully written tale of youthful passion * Good Housekeeping * A novel about sexual awakening and the tricks that memory plays. Banville's lushly gorgeous prose enhances a mood of brooding passion in a place of secrets * The I * A sumptuous novel. Read it for the sentences and smarts, and for the copious sexy parts -- Richard Ford * Guardian, Books of the Year * Everything I want from a love story: sexy, convincing, baffling, funny, sad and unforgettable -- Juliet Nicholson * Evening Standard, "Books of the Year" * Banville's exquisitely written novel unravels the deceptions of memory with wit and pathos * Telegraph *show more

About John Banville

John Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. He is the author of fourteen previous novels including The Sea, which won the 2005 Man Booker Prize. He was recently awarded the Franz Kafka Prize. He lives in Dublin.show more

Rating details

2,449 ratings
3.59 out of 5 stars
5 20% (481)
4 37% (907)
3 30% (726)
2 10% (248)
1 4% (87)
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