The Blue Guitar

The Blue Guitar

3.37 (964 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

List price: US$19.03

Currently unavailable

We can notify you when this item is back in stock

Add to wishlist

AbeBooks may have this title (opens in new window).

Try AbeBooks


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

Praise for Ancient Light:

'Everything I want from a love story: sexy, convincing, baffling, funny, sad and unforgettable' Evening Standard, Books of the Year

'Illuminating, funny, devastating. A meditation of breathtaking beauty and profundity on love and loss and death' Financial Times
show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 138 x 204 x 26mm | 336g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0241004322
  • 9780241004326
  • 118,099

Review quote

This engrossing and often beautiful novel is a true work of art that rewards careful reading * Daily Telegraph * Banville is a gorgeous writer who can nail an emotion * The Times * He shows himself, once again, as one of contemporary literature's finest and most expert witnesses... compelling and matchless prose * The Observer * The book is cherishable as a meditation on life's transience, the mysteries and fleetingness of love, the waning of sexual desire, and the lost domain of childhood * The Irish Independent * An elegant novel of tangled infidelity * The Scotsman * A brilliant study of memory, regret and inescapable alienation in relationships (...) a portrait of human frailty, it is surprisingly uplifting * The Lady * Banville's prose sparkles as Orme ponders the nature of art, his life, happiness, memory and love * The Daily Express * Banville is an expert in masculine interiority... achieving this by a luminous prose style * The Independent * Banville, the Nabokov of contemporary literature, can turn even a straightforward comeuppance tale into breath-taking literary art * Press Association * Banville is one of the writers I admire the most - few people can create an image as beautifully or precisely * Hanya Yanagihara, author of the Booker-shortlisted 'A Little Life' * Deliciously off-beat, gorgeous prose * Daily Mail * This is a book to be enjoyed for the grand mastery of its description and for the way it nails the challenges we face in attempting to understand the world, others and ourselves from the limits of our own perspective * The Metro * The Blue Guitar is arguably the funniest and most accessible of Banville's many novels . . . beautiful, heartbreaking * The Washington Post * Eloquent . . . Oliver has some of the wry comic haplessness of a Beckett character * Wall Street Journal * The cumulative effect of [The Blue Guitar] -the opening ludic exuberance, the subsequent steady softening, the sheer force of Banville's reflections on grief and loss-is moving, entertaining, edifying and affirmative. The Blue Guitar is a remarkable achievement: the work of a writer who knows not only about pain and eloquence, but about the consolations of learning how to think, to look and to listen * The National * Banville's descriptive gifts are undiminished as Oliver finally stumbles towards an understanding of love * Mail on Sunday * Elegant and affecting * Times Literary Supplement * Self-depreciating and funny . . . Banville, with this narrator who is messily making it up as he goes along, who is writing a dodgy first draft in front of our eyes, seems at once to be having fun and to be utterly serious. Serious about the demolition work at the heart of this novel, a taking-down of the business of writing a novel, all those strivings, strainings, fakings and foreshortenings-and all the ridiculousness of alliteration-for-effect, with a rake of unlikely character and place names which seem right out of a sinister sort of nursery rhyme-all the artifice that the reader pretends not to see as such, all of the impulses and indulgences (stop alliterating!) with which the writer expects to get away. * The Irish Times *
show more

About John Banville

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.
show more

Rating details

964 ratings
3.37 out of 5 stars
5 15% (146)
4 33% (318)
3 32% (313)
2 13% (124)
1 7% (63)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X