“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.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

How Black It Was, How Black

Yet more John Banville / Benjamin Black fun and frolics, this time courtesy of The National, in an interview with Ben East in which Banville discusses his reasons for adopting a pseudonym to write crime fiction. To wit:
“I chose a different name because I was really keen to make sure people realised this wasn’t some sort of elaborate postmodern joke,” [Banville] says.
  I tell him that’s what I feared - irony-laden books from a ‘literary’ writer taking the mickey out of the conventions of crime fiction.
  “Oh no, I respect the genre too much for that,” he says. “More than respect, actually, I love crime fiction. I don’t feel bound by the conventions, either - I love working with them. Stravinksy once said that freedom is found within the rules, and it’s true. I’d like to go back to when the writer was an artisan - my perfect job would have been to be one of those writers somewhere in Hollywood, churning movies out in the 1950s, cigar stub in hand. Somebody saying to me, ‘We need two scenes by 4pm, and they’d better be funny, kid, or you’re off the picture’.”
  For the rest, clickety-click here
  Meanwhile, ‘John Banville writing as Benjamin Black’ is the title of a conversation between Banville and critic Michael Wood at the Kilkenny Arts Festival, which takes place at The Parade Tower in Kilkenny Castle next Friday evening, August 12th. The festival’s brochure claims that Banville ‘has never given a dull interview’, which suggests that you’re guaranteed value for money for your €13 ticket. For all the details, clickety-click here

2 comments:

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Dana King said...

Squire,
There was quite a lot of controversy when Bnaville/Black first started writing crime, much of it based on the perception he felt he was "slumming". That's not the word he used, but it fits. The impression was distinctly given that this writing was a come down for him, barely a flexing of his literary muscles.

That idea has largely fallen by the wayside. You're in a position to know. Was Banville's attitude interpreted incorrectly, or hes he changed?