“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. “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.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

“In The Desiccated Murk Of A John Banville Novel …”

Declan Hughes reviewed Benny Blanco’s THE LEMUR for the Irish Times yesterday, and I choked so hard on my cornflakes I needed a good Heimliching from a 300-pound gorilla. To wit:
“This is not Banville writing as Black, this is Black writing as Banville, and John Glass is that familiar figure: Banville Man. Banville Man, furrowed brow wreathed in smoke, forever caught between a swoon and a sneer; Banville Man, the rumpled aesthete whose exquisite nerves are ever besieged by the crass and the vulgar (“For God’s sake, Louise. The ‘chopper’!”); Banville Man, whose loathing of the hell that is other people is surpassed only by his loathing of himself.
  “And in the desiccated murk of a John Banville novel, where no one expects much by way of character or action, where a bogus back-story is the least you might imagine a man to have, that’s all par for the course.”
  I actually liked THE LEMUR, on the basis that I thought it was good fun to read Banville playing around with the genre conventions. But this is much more fun – we haven’t had a good old-fashioned writers’ spat in, oooh, never. And what gives this one a frisson is that Banville used to be the literary editor-type with the Irish Times.
  Ding-ding, gentlemen, seconds out …

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