“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.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

On The Philosophical Potency Of Narrative

Two snippets that caught my attention in the weekend newspapers, the first being a line from an Irish Times review of John Kenny’s study of John Banville (Irish Academic Press) by Anne Fogarty, professor of Joyce Studies at UCD:
“[Kenny] successfully teases out many of the paradoxical features of Banville’s fiction: its refusal of, but underlying alignment with, an Irish aesthetic, its advocacy of a post-modern playfulness with a form that yet coincides with a late modernist belief in the philosophical potency of narrative and its simultaneous pursuit of silence and an exacting eloquence.”
  Then there was this snippet from Lynne Truss’s Sunday Times review of HOW NOT TO WRITE A NOVEL by Sandra Newman and Howard Mittelmark (Penguin), to wit:
“Writing is not like figure skating, they say. Flashy stuff doesn’t earn you points and it doesn’t make you move up in the competition.”
  I’ll very probably read both these books in the coming months. Which one do you think is likely to be the more enjoyable?