“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.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Black In The Pink

The New York Times has a bit of a jones for Irish crime scribes these days. Yesterday I mentioned Marilyn Stasio’s review of Conor Fitzgerald’s THE FATAL TOUCH; not to be outdone, Janet Maslin weighed in with a fine appreciation of Benjamin Black’s latest, A DEATH IN SUMMER. The gist runs thusly:
“Benjamin Black, whose fourth book is A DEATH IN SUMMER, started out as the escapist alter ego of John Banville, who won the Man Booker Prize for his 2005 novel THE SEA. But his Black persona has been such a success that he looks increasingly like the Superman to Mr. Banville’s more literary Clark Kent. His books about the dour Irish pathologist named Quirke have effortless flair, with their period-piece cinematic ambience and their sultry romance. The Black books are much more like Alan Furst’s elegant, doom-infused World War II spy books than like standard crime tales.” - Janet Maslin
  Mind you, Ms Maslin does report that Mr Black does succumb “to the occasional fit of verbosity. At one atypically overripe moment the author manages to use “miasmic,” “ether,” “teeming,” “bacilli,” “succumb,” “writhe” and “tender torment” in the same sentence.”
  I have to say that I didn’t notice that particular sentence when I read A DEATH IN SUMMER, which I enjoyed very much, not least because there’s a palpable sense of John Banville settling into the Benjamin Black persona and - whispers, now - actually enjoying it. For my take on the novel, clickety-click here
  Meanwhile, Eithne Shortall in the Sunday Times (no link) brought us the news that the Benjamin Black novels are to be made into a TV series for the BBC, to be filmed in Dublin by Tyrone Productions and Element Pictures. To wit:
Banville … set out to create a detective series for television, and when the project was shelved he converted it into a novel. Nine years later it is about to complete a roundabout journey to the screen. […] Each of the first three Black books will be turned into a 90-minute drama, and if they prove successful the fourth instalment will also be adapted.
  So that’s Black in the pink, and Banville in the black. Nice.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think his novels would work very well on television actually. Quirke would make an excellent stand in for Morse.
Arlene

Michael Malone said...

Yeah, thats the kind of thing the BBC are very good at.

lil Gluckstern said...

I'm a little unpatriotic, but the BBC does mysteries better than any channel here in the states. Actually, most of what is imported here is sheer pleasure, and Quirke will be a welcome addition. I hope to see it here.

Declan Burke said...

Now if we could only get Banville to play the part of Quirke, the metafictional circle will be complete ...

Cheers, Dec