How did a cheerful, prolific crime novelist come to inhabit the writing mind of one of the most angst-ridden perfectionists on the planet? The answer says a good deal about the Jekyll-and-Hyde relationship of so-called literary fiction and genre fiction. But it also makes you wonder: Are Dr. Banville and Mr. Black really as different as they seem?The Big, Big Question: Is John Banville a pretentious oul’ bollocks, or a wily po-mo dilettante who may require surgery in the near future to remove that tongue from his cheek? Only time, that notoriously prevaricating doity rat, will tell …
“Benjamin Black is like a schoolboy who’s been given an extra week’s Christmas holiday,” Banville says. “This, of course, is worrying. To enjoy writing is deeply worrying. I must be doing something wrong.”
“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
The Curious Case Of Dr Banville And Mr Black
Bob Thompson conducted a fascinating interview with John Banville / Benny Blanco (right) for the Washington Post last weekend, two snippets of which runneth thusly: