John Banville’s stunning powers of mimicry are brilliantly on display in this engrossing novel, the darkly compelling confession of an improbable murderer.
Freddie Montgomery is a highly cultured man, a husband and father living the life of a dissolute exile on a Mediterranean island. When a debt comes due and his wife and child are held as collateral, he returns to Ireland to secure funds. That pursuit leads to murder. And here is his attempt to present evidence, not of his innocence, but of his life, of the events that lead to the murder he committed because he could. Like a hero out of Nabokov or Camus, Montgomery is a chillingly articulate, self-aware, and amoral being, whose humanity is painfully on display.
A former scientist who pointlessly murdered a woman during a robbery attempt describes his amoral, aimless life as he awaits trial. ``Banville's style, which is spare yet richly eloquent, and his extraordinary psychological penetration, are what lift his novel to a level of comparison with Camus's The Stranger and Dostoyevski's Crime and Punishment ,'' said PW.
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The Book of Evidence by Banville
I first read this remarkable, insightful novel twenty years ago when I was living and lecturing in Ireland. I continue to be impressed by Banville's use of language; and having matured somewhat, am deeply moved by his understanding of the complexity that we human beings are.